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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
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    New York
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  1. Lane can dance with anyone, and we've seen her do so, this year and in the past. Stearns, Hoven, Simkin, Marcelo Gomes, Craig Salstein, Roman Zhurbin, or any one of the young male dancers who Ratmansky has pulled from the corps for leading roles, like Tyler Maloney, Carlos Gonzales, Jonathan Klein. Lack of a suitable partner is no excuse to sidelined her from extra performances. A little creative thinking and extra coaching would help, too.
  2. I sat there tonight, watching Ghosts for the third time this week, when it occurred to me that this might very well be the last time I'll see Cornejo perform at ABT, and I started to cry. In the middle of his anniversary show. There's no reason for me to pay to see him perform in the future with dancers I don't really enjoy. For the wonderful Lane-Cornejo partnership to end so abruptly and sadly is truly tragic. Their gorgeous dancing and emotional connection has sustained me through some difficult personal times over the past couple of years, and I feel lucky to have seen so many of their outstanding performances. My heart was breaking for Lane with her sad little Instagram post this afternoon, and I knew she and her husband would not be there tonight. The few company members I did see on stage, who did not dance in the gala, were Abrera and Radetsky, Boylston and Whiteside, and Connor Holloway and Tyler Maloney way in the back. For Lane to have attended a party to which she was not invited would have been unthinkable. We may never know whether anything really did occur to end the partnership, the way we may never know what happened to Marcelo Gomes, but it's my feeling that this is the work of Lord Voldemort in the front office. Between the sight of so much money sitting at the front of the orchestra tonight, and the return of the "guest artists" next year, it's pretty clear that for management, company artistry is a valueless commodity which doesn't result in cold hard box office cash. I don't care who Lane will be forced to dance with next season; I will be there supporting her at every one of her performances. Guest artists? No way.
  3. I agree with you about this. I found it rather insulting. The rest of New American Romance seemed derivative. However, the colors of the costumes were lovely. My only interest last night was in seeing the Bond piece. I found the choreography cluttered and busy; it was difficult to focus on any one thing on stage. The music was grim, the folk song lyrics (which I searched for later) were grim, the thematic basis as stated in the program ("meditations on the joys and perils of our contemporary lives") also seemed very grim. Hoven had danced in Garden Blue just before this, which might have affected his energy level. But he and Lane worked easily together, performing lifts cleanly and problem free. A second viewing of this piece, with this cast, would be beneficial. Lane was the only dancer on stage whose facial expressions mirrored the choreographic theme. Concern, sadness, fear; at least she offered some idea regarding the nature of the dance. During the curtain calls, it was astonishing to see how joyous she was. It's been a long time since I've seen her look so happy at the end of a ballet. Considering how rarely she's been cast in a contemporary piece, much less in a leading role, her reaction seemed to reflect this, as well as her positive feelings towards performing with Blaine Hoven (reinforced later on her Instagram postings). Frankly, with Cornejo now out of the picture, I think Hoven is the dancer who should have been cast opposite her in R&J. Is that too much to ask from management?
  4. “Of Love and Rage” . . . a title which perfectly describes my feelings today since the Spring casting was posted. I love that our beloved Sarah Lane will finally get to dance her dream role, Juliet, for us in New York. I’m enraged that her long partnership with Herman Cornejo has been forced to come to an abrupt end. And that she’s scheduled to dance her dream role opposite the one guy who still can’t lift her. Also enraged that there’s nothing we can do about it. Hopeful that Ratmansky will give her a leading role in his new ballet, no matter what it may be like. It seems that management is once again going to try and wring every last nickel possible from Copeland before she ends up breaking something again or just collapses from exhaustion. She gets two performances of almost everything, except for the Nutcracker, which she’s scheduled to dance at three performances. It seems certain now that Lane has been officially designated her understudy for every show which might give her trouble, from Apollo to Swan Lake. Let’s see what kind of physical shape she’ll be in by the last week of the season - Swan Lake week. After last week’s performances, I don’t think Lane will be cast in any of the T&V’s in the spring. However, I could very easily imagine both Brandt and Hurlin assigned to two of the performances. It would suit each of them perfectly. I’d hate to think that Brandt might see Hurlin promoted ahead of her, the way Sarah Lane and Yuriko Kajiya saw both Hee Seo and Boylston pass them for promotion. Brandt has the skills and drive to soar to endless heights, but I think her dancing needs a deeper emotional charge than what I’ve observed, which has been mostly big toothy grins in every performance. It’s wonderful to see someone who is so obviously in love with what they do, but perhaps more maturity might be what she needs to color her performances with less sunshine. It’s insane that Cornejo would not be assigned to Sleeping Beauty with Lane. This is one of the cornerstone performances of their partnership – the Vision Scene as they perform it together is filled with so much heartache, yearning and loveliness, I get choked up just thinking about it. And enraged again to think that company management could actually consider breaking up such a glorious duo. There are many things in this world I can’t explain and can’t understand, and right now this is at the top of the list. The really great news is that a promotion for Tom Forster may be imminent, and also how many ballets he’s been scheduled to dance with Christine Shevchenko. After their amazing partnering in last year’s Nutcracker – they were like a dashing whirlwind of technical excellence and beautiful movement – I am most definitely making plans to attend at least one of their Swan Lakes, and maybe their Giselle, too. I hope their partnership will put to rest anyone’s notion that Whiteside and Boylston are the best ABT has to offer.
  5. All my favorite lyrical ballerinas are disappearing: first, Veronika Part, now Stella Abrera, and one day, Sarah Lane . . . Athletic, speedy thrills seem to be de rigueur for success now; force over beauty, visceral power over art. The rare dancer who combines both, like Herman Cornejo, offers aesthetic pleasure through virtuosity. And like Stella, true artists are a rare breed. When you experience the gifts they offer us, the earth often moves.
  6. Compared to what I saw on Thursday evening, I thought the performance of T&V tonight (Saturday) was much improved. This was the kind of performance I’d been hoping to see on Thursday! The tempo seemed faster, the theater was better attended than on Thursday, and this time, people finally applauded throughout. The whole feel of the performance was changed. Gorak was still underwhelming, but Lane appeared confident, relaxed and smiling, not stoic-faced. Her dancing flowed like water, smooth and clean. The entire company was “on.” Skylar Brandt and Tyler Maloney had so much energy they seemed near to bouncing off the stage. Gorak finally achieved the near-impossible (for him) task of lifing Lane onto his shoulder at the ballet's end. He was not comfortable holding her there, but he needed to accomplish this lift, and he did. Though this company will never dance like NYC Ballet, nonetheless this was a fine performance tonight from all involved, very Balanchine in feel, and not a watered-down or mangled through the ABT meat grinder version. Very grateful I was able to see it again!
  7. Nearly forgot about this. Do you recall this NY Times story from Oct. 14, 2007? The AD's paternalistic attitude toward Cornejo is on full display as he justifies keeping this virtuosic dancer from romantic leading roles because of his short stature. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/arts/dance/14larocco.html?searchResultPosition=14
  8. I was at tonight’s performance, which was a real mixed bag. Yes, the evening opened with the AD’s remarks in memory of Alicia Alonso. He stumbled through his speech, several times forgetting what it was he was supposed to say, or wanted to say. What might have been an uplifting eulogy was turned into a dull jumble of confusion, pretty much killing whatever anticipation for T&V the audience might have had, not mention feelings for Alonso. Way to go. And T&V was not great. This was such a wonderful opportunity for Lane and Gorak to give strong, dynamic, performances in honor of Alonso, and to show off their skills. Apparently Lane’s nerves have been troubling her again – her Instagram has been fraught with anxious postings about this ballet all week. I believe the conductor, Charles Barker, slowed down the orchestra’s tempo at the start to accommodate her nerves – and I mean WAY down. It was glacial. The great thing about T&V is the speed and precision required to perform it, and the thrill you get watching it. Here, the pace was just too slow. However, Lane has such command of her technique that if you were unfamiliar with this ballet, you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong. She looked wonderful. Her major issue came at the end of the slow woodwinds sequence, when she joins hands with all the corps women as they support her through the arabesque penchee, all the while twisting in and around themselves. It’s a haunting and ethereal moment, and she performed this beautifully, and continued to do so as the music shifted to a faster pace. Near the end, however, she has to perform a series of pique turns moving downstage right, in preparation for her exit. The turns were far too slow, and she completed them after the music had ended. It was unfortunate. Gorak’s performance was problematic as well. His double tours kept traveling, way too far over toward stage right, and again, he ended off the music. The worst part, though, was the final moment of the ballet. The male lead lifts his partner onto his shoulder, they hit a pose as the music ends. But this is Gorak. And he still can’t lift Lane. His hands were clasped around her waist, and he couldn’t lift her up to his shoulder level, she slid halfway down and he held her there, her legs dangling in the air. After all these years. Again? At this late date, it’s beyond disappointing. I’ll be back on Saturday evening for Lane & Gorak’s second performance of T&V, hoping against hope they’ll be better. I found the Tharp ballet somewhat fascinating, and not at all the horror show the NY Times review implied. Norma Kamali’s costumes looked as if the dancers had been let loose at a costume house and pulled bits and pieces together from boxes and bins to improvise their own outfits. Cornejo was extraordinary, astonishingly strong and confident. His dancing seemed infused with the flavor of Argentine tango. I kept thinking of Rudolf Valentino’s tango in the silent film “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” You can’t compare his dancing to Cornejo’s, of course, but the bent knees, elbows held aloft, the high head, all the tango elements seemed to flow in and out. At one point, Cornejo dances a short duet with Skylar Brandt with tango-like footwork. I found the ballet fun, and upbeat. Both Brandt and Trenary danced in all three pieces tonight. The final piece, “The Seasons,” was the highlight of the program. Everyone danced with great confidence and speed, a great improvement from the spring. There was some astonishing work from Kate Hurlin as Hail, Aran Bell as Winter, Blaine Hoven as the Faun. The evening, which started so slowly, really ended on a high note. Spotted in the audience: Adrain Danchig-Waring, seated across the aisle from me, Herman Cornejo’s wife, Maria, seated behind me, and Jon Stafford, chatting up patrons near the stage. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!
  13. 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!
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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