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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. Nice review of Hong Kong Ballet's gala with Lane, Cornejo, and Brooklyn Mack, as well as Lane's performance in Giselle: http://www.atimes.com/article/hong-kong-ballet-in-top-form/
  2. laurel

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    Lane and Cornejo were outstanding in Other Dances last night, giving virtuosic performances and improving on what I thought was perfection when I saw them perform this at the Kennedy Center in January. They have deepened and shaded their artistic interpretations and emotional responses to the choreography, and to one another, and it struck me that this is the closest I might ever come to seeing Baryshnikov and Makarova in this piece. I was awestruck. This is why I've always loved ballet, and in particular these two dancers, together. They are the main reason I keep coming back to ABT. Hoping to see Lane's added performance with Stearns on Sunday. Did anyone see the woman seated at the back of the orchestra, holding the dog on her lap? That was not a seeing eye dog. Is there some sort of rule regarding comfort animals at Lincoln Center which I've missed??
  3. It is locked to non-subscribers. I can only read the first paragraph and a half unfortunately. Typical of WSJ. Sorry about that. For some reason, the article is available to me, and I'm definitely not a subscriber. Consequently, I've paraphrased it below for anyone who may be interested. The article is entitled "Hungarian Opera and Ballet Take Their Show on the Road," dated Oct. 22, 2018, and the author is Charles Passy. Both the State Opera and the National Ballet will be making their U.S. debuts starting October 30, with what is described as a 13-day residency at Lincoln Center. They will be bringing 367 people to New York, including 20 opera singers, 83 ballet dancers, 10 child dancers, 87 orchestra musicians and 3 conductors. The general director of the opera, Szilveszter Ókovács, notes New York trip will cost $4 million, an expensive venture for a country whose GDP ($139 billion) is less than the net worth of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos. However, Mr. Ókovács argues that the financial cost of the trip will be offset by the nation’s strong artistic values; despite its small size, Hungary’s cultural power is enormous. In addition, Budapest’s opera house, where both companies perform, has been undergoing renovation since last year, possibly continuing for up to three years. Accordingly, the opera and ballet companies stay active by touring, and have visited Japan and Estonia in addition to New York said Mr. Ókovács. Yet some wonder if the companies’ New York visit is merely cultural propaganda for nationalist right wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, known for his anti-immigration views, as his government tries to use these two great cultural institutions to present itself in a more positive light. Hungarian writer and theater critic Andrea Tompa feels the money spent on the tour should be used to support smaller artistic institutions at home, particularly ones that produce more adventurous programming. Referring to the ballet’s choice of Swan Lake for its Lincoln Center visit, she stated, “I’m very skeptical if this is the best way to represent Hungarian culture.” Mr. Ókovács said it was strictly the companies’ own choice to visit New York and the government had no input into the decision. Máté Vincze, head of the Hungarian Cultural Center in New York, an organization overseen by Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the visit to the city has no political agenda. “The visit of the Hungarian State Opera and the Hungarian National Ballet is what it seems—a cultural program,” he said via email.
  4. Short article in the Wall Street Journal focusing on the motivations behind the Hungarian State Opera and National Ballet's expensive visit to New York. (Article is not locked and should be free to all non-subscribers.) https://www.wsj.com/articles/hungarian-opera-and-ballet-take-their-show-on-the-road-1540248626?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1
  5. laurel

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    Lucky audience tonight! She is wonderful in this piece. Go Sarah Lane!
  6. laurel

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    I was there tonight, and yes, Hee Seo did dance in the premier of Garden Blue. She appeared to be fine, so if she'd been experiencing some kind of pain earlier, she may have seen a doctor for assistance. I can understand her wanting to work through the pain so as not to miss the premier performance. Personally, I found Garden Blue an attractive-looking but dull ballet. Part of my dislike certainly had to do with the fact that three of the four most objectionable principals in the company appeared in this performance. The cast consists of three couples, each dressed in different solid-colored bodysuits (very California), as well as a solo woman. The choreography seemed repetitive and full of acrobatics. For example, Copeland, dancing with Cornejo in fuchsia, would do a backbend, lifting her legs high in the air, then drop them backward at the knees, so that Cornejo could catch her legs and proceed to drag her across the stage. There was far too much dragging of women across the stage for me. James Whiteside dragging Katie Williams (red bodysuits), and Tom Forster dragging Stella Abrera, though less than the others (yellow bodysuits). The set appeared to represent a bright blue sky (which changed color as the different colored bodysuits performed), and a far-off horizon, which gave me the impression of a beach on a desert island. Large wooden props were placed on the beach, one hanging in the air, and I thought they were shaped like the stabilizers from the tail end of airplanes. Which got me thinking, is this an island where planes have crashed? Was Hee Seo, the solo woman, dressed in a parti-colored bodysuit of white with green, an Amelia Earhart doppelgänger? Well, healthy or otherwise, Hee Seo did nothing to change my opinion of her. She remains ABT's most soporific dancer, twirling bland pirouettes, forcing my mind to wander. Possibly tomorrow's cast will present the ballet in a better light. I was there to see the Tharp ballet, not the Lang, and it was worth the wait. The dynamic cast gave us one spectacular performance! Standouts included Teuscher, Brandt, Trenary, Hoven, Cornejo, Erica Lall, Anabel Katsnelson, and - yes! - Joey Gorak!!! I was so happy to see him I thought I would cry. I haven't seen him dance in a very long time, and he offered us the kind of gorgeous, exuberant dancing we've all known he is capable of, but hasn't been allowed to perform for whatever reason. His partnering of Boylston (fourth most objectionable principal; a full house tonight) put her sloppy dancing to shame. Even flying across the stage at full speed his lyrical beauty and perfect upper body placement (gorgeous port de bras) never failed. Never. Why isn't he dancing more? Get him off the bench and put him on stage!! I must mention Blaine Hoven as well. His natural vibrancy was perfect for this piece, and like Gorak, he soared through every movement with technical prowess on full display. Bravo, Blaine! This was the only ballet of the evening which brought the entire audience to its feet, in a roaring, well-deserved standing ovation. My thanks to the entire cast of In the Upper Room!
  7. laurel

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    What a marvelous afternoon at the De Luz farewell. I enjoyed every bit of it, but most especially Theme and Variations, which was beautifully danced by De Luz and Peck. They sailed through the choreography smoothly and easily, with big smiles, making it seem as if T&V were the easiest of ballets to perform. Also enjoyed the corps women who performed with the kind of near-uniformity I always miss at ABT. I even liked Todo Buenos Aires, which employs a kind of theatricality i felt appropriate for the event, allowing De Luz to go out in the spotlight, as the center of attention.
  8. laurel

    promotions 2018

    I am elated by this fantastic news. They are all marvelous dancers, and I look forward to seeing each of them continue to grow. Sincere congratulations to all!
  9. laurel

    ABT in D.C. - Jan 2019

    Lane was promoted July 2017, a little over one year ago. She'd had such an amazing spring season, with her two spectacular Giselles and unplanned debt in Swan Lake. I think management felt pressured to promote her to principal. Back in 2006-2007 it seemed she was being fast tracked for promotion, with her debut in the old Sleeping Beauty occurring just prior to her promotion to soloist. With the introduction of the "guest artist" policy, I think the AD lost interest in her and abandoned her to soloist purgatory for a decade. Her promotion to principal last year offered management the opportunity to build on the excitement she'd created in the spring by offering her that long-awaited debut in R&J and a proper Swan Lake performance with more than a couple of days' rehearsal. As we know, these things never happened and just contributed to the loss of inertia and public interest in the company as a whole. This isn't a new low for Lane; it's a new low for the AD and company management. They are doing to her just what they did to Veronika Part; one show a season, if that much, and ultimately no renewal of contract. I really hope Lane utilizes all this free time to begin lining up more guest appearances around the U.S. and especially in Europe, where everyone can see how good she is and experience her on-stage magic, and ultimately finding a new home. She just turned 34; she still has time left to make a great impression in a new place and continue to dance at the top of her game.
  10. "I learned that discipline is not negotiable, grace is a consequence of humility, devotion to something greater than oneself is salvation and impossible beauty exists." When Mr. Kirstein was asked what ballet was about, he explained: “Ballet is about how to behave.”
  11. Right now, New York City Ballet makes ABT look very good in comparison, which I find as disturbing as all the other nightmarish things that are tearing our country and culture and entire planet to shreds.
  12. laurel

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    I'd been planning on traveling to Costa Mesa to see the Nutcracker again this year, especially if Lane and Cornejo were teamed, but alas, it seems those plans now are on hold. I love Blaine Hoven, and it would be great to see him performing with Lane, but I'd like to see more than one performance, so it really comes down to who will be cast opposite Abrera. (Last year her partner was Alex Hammoudi.) But - Copeland gets THREE performances, all with Cornejo?! I'm gagging! They must be desperate to fill those seats. I suppose it will make all her West Coast fans happy, but it's made me utterly depressed.
  13. laurel

    Sarasota @ Joyce Aug. 2018

    It was certainly a pleasure to see Marcelo Gomes performing once again on a New York stage. But more than that, the Sarasota Ballet offered one of the best programmed performances I've seen a some time. The ballets were thoughtfully selected and beautifully performed by everyone. If ABT had programmed their fall season with as much taste and finesse, they'd have no trouble selling tickets. We need more Ashton in our lives, not less! Bravo to the Sarasota Ballet!
  14. laurel

    ABT 2018 Whipped Cream

    The entire cast of last night's "Whipped Cream" simply soared with energy, precision and personality. Maybe Saturday afternoon's "Don Quixote" propelled the them into a new level of vigor and liveliness, but they moved together like a big, buoyant, well-oiled machine. Some of the ballet's choreography has definitely changed, because the action moves swiftly and easily now, and awkward moments have been eliminated. For example, the three liquor bottles no longer stand shivering together in center stage, pointing towards stage left, as they see the doctor approaching. Last year, that shivering-in-place went on far too long; it stopped the action cold and was tiresome. Instead, the three bottles now spot the doctor, point, and depart quickly. It's moments like this that have been tightened and improved. In addition, every single dancer now has become an identifiable character, with a personality played as broadly as possible. This includes the formerly stoic cookie soldiers, who glare and sneer and silently roar at one another through their attack, as well as the whipped cream dancers, most of whom looked delighted and overjoyed at their swirly, frothy existence, and one of whom - Courtney Lavine - had a look of demonic delight in her eyes, like a magical imp lost in the bowl. I've never laughed at Boris Wutki before, but last night, Roman Zhurbin really propelled his character into new territory with perfectly timed tumbles and a face that stretched like rubber between the masks of comedy and tragedy. His agility with character is awe-inspiring. Even the supernumeraries were excited and lively. Last night's candy worm was Justin Souriau-Levine, the former "little mouse" from the Nutcracker. He knows how to shake that worm's tail! All the leading dancers were perfection, every one of them. They know the choreography well and flew through those tricky steps with ease. Tom Forster and Stella Abrera were a fantastic Prince Coffee and Princess Tea Flower. They are a smashing team and I think they would be great as Albrecht and Giselle next year! The rapport between Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin has grown even stronger since the season began. Simkin really pays attention now to expressing his character's changing emotions, and how the Boy reacts to each situation, each scary or charming creature he meets. He watched Princess Praline closely and played off her reactions. Lane's Princess Praline is more vivacious and delirious with joy, and performs her little "happy dance" with enormous zest and speed. Flying feet! And speaking of flying, Blaine Hoven as Don Zucchero threw himself and his crazy costume around the stage as if he were soaring on a sugar high, and Joseph Gorak performed his Prince Cocoa solo with supreme speed and grace. If the company continues to perform "Whipped Cream" with such exuberance all this week, they will end a mostly dull season on a great high. Maybe, like the rest of us, they're just eager for vacation!
  15. laurel

    Don Quixote Spring 2018

    An absolutely spectacular performance this afternoon by Lane and Cornejo, and the entire company as well. Everyone was completely "on" from the moment the curtain rose in Act I, and at this performance, the entire audience was alive and excited and invested in what was happening on stage. There was rousing applause for every single choreographic moment, every piece of business, every solo, duet, trio, etc. The energy in the theater was electric, and it bounced back and forth between the performers and the audience. These are the kind of shows you hope for and wait to experience. This was by far Lane's finest debut since both of her Giselles, last year. In Act I, as Kitri pirouttes past a line of toreadors, Lane began to turn before the musical cue, actually adding an extra turn at the start, and she continued to whirl her way down the line so quickly she seemed to fly into the wings. Her Act II hops on point were perfection, performed with lightness and ease. Her Act III fouettes were her usual mix of a single followed by doubles through the first musical phrase, then all singles through the second. She traveled a little downstage, but it seemed clear to me she was in control of herself and the fouettes were gorgeous. Her port de bras is still killer! Cornejo and Lane have such an easy rapport, and it was a pleasure to watch them play off one another. And did I mention those fish dives – wow! I really have nothing negative to say about this performance or anyone in it. As you may have heard, Skylar Brandt, as a flower girl, performed triple pirouttes, followed by pirouettes en dedans – she is clearly pushing herself technically and becomes more astonishing each time I see her. I loved Stella Abrera and Tom Forster as Mercedes and Espada; they were sparkling team and I hope that we see them together again next season. Forster will be a wonderful Albrecht or Siegfried! It was great to see this company finally looking alive and vibrant and on the same wavelength. May it continue into next week!