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Everything posted by angelica

  1. Thanks so much for the heads-up. Yes, it is a great loss for those of us in New York, especially people like myself who have JUST gotten to know her dancing and fallen in love with her. But at least she isn't injured. That was my primary concern. I love Sascha too. Does anyone know what company they'll be joining/have joined? I wonder if they left to dance principal roles. They are certainly more than capable. I hope it's a company that comes to NY and we will we see them dance again. Otherwise I might have to go to Europe--it would be worth the trip. Angelica
  2. angelica

    Stella Abrera

    Does anyone know what is happening with Stella Abrera? She was supposed to dance her first Giselle with ABT during this past season, but I understand that she never got to do that because she was injured and was out for the remainder of the season. I don't see her name in the casting for the fall season in New York. Is she going to be all right? I hope so because I fell in love with her the year before when she danced the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. I said to my husband "Next year she is going to be a principal," and I even bought a pair of her autographed pointe shoes. I am concerned for her. I hope she is getting the best possible care and is going to dance again. Angelica
  3. [ "...just cant stop thinking how sad is not to have Nina's Don Q, Swan Lake and Giselle for the ages." There are two DVDs of Nina at the age of 29 (approx, I'm not exactly sure of her age then), one dancing Don Q and one dancing Swan Lake with the State Ballet of Perm. She is breathtaking in both. I understand that the Swan Lake DVD is becoming a collector's item, so get it while you can. I recommend Amazon or Kultur. But why no Nina as Giselle? I think someone should capture Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel before it's too late. Where are you, DVD people? Angelica
  4. I saw both Monday night's performance of Giselle and also Tuesday's. Will also be going to see Cornejo make his debut as Albrecht on Thursday. I've been attending performances of Giselle since the Bolshoi first danced it in the US in the late fifties. I thought Nina and Angel were exceptional on Monday night, perhaps the greatest performance of Giselle I've ever seen. Nina danced with every pore of her body. She used her eyes to perfection, in addition to her radiance, her perfect line, and flawless technique. In Act II I couldn't take my eyes off her for even a moment. Why, oh why, is there no DVD of her performing this work? That is such a great loss to posterity. Why is there no good DVD of Giselle to be had? And then I saw Julie and Ethan on Tuesday and I felt the same way--that this was the greatest performance of Giselle I'd ever seen! Julie was breathtaking. She was charming and delightful in Act I, completely in command of her exquisite classical line and technique. In Act II she was truly a spirit, completely weightless, with fluid Romantic arms/hands and finely articulated legs. She reminded me of Carla Fracci, whom I also adored in that role. Julie's performance should be captured on DVD before it's too late. I agree about the veils. I sat in the side parterre (my favorite seats, as I'd rather sacrifice a corner of the stage in order to see the expressions on the dancers' faces) and saw the arm and the string ("oh, so that's how they do it," I thought). In older productions the wilis used to go offstage for a moment and return without their veils. Both Gennadi and Sascha were great Hilarions. My impression, though please correct me if I'm wrong, is that the role of Hilarion contains more classical dancing than it used to. Perhaps this is because the quality of male dancers has improved greatly since the 1960s. Gennadi's acting was superb, as well as his dancing. Sascha is a joy to watch as well. I hope that before too long both will be able to move up the ranks to become principal dancers. I am eagerly awaiting the debut of Stella and David in the leading roles. May her injuries heal quickly and completely. We need her back on stage! Both performances are indelibly etched in my brain. But where are the DVD people? Why weren't they capturing these transcendent performances? Angelica
  5. "Yes, Herman has extraordinary elevation, but to me that his among his lesser assets. He has an amazing ability to see exactly how a phrase should look and reproduce it with his body. When he dances, you can almost see the mental work he's put into his dancing -- not to imply that you can see him thinking on stage. And his musicality is unsurpassed." I quite agree that Herman Cornejo is the greatest male dancer today. Your observation about the mental work he has put into his dancing is interesting to me, because to me it comes across as intuitive--a talent beyond compare--as if he just "knows" how to move, what is called for by the music and the context. But you may be right--perhaps all the thought that he has given to a role allows it to seem completely natural, the way years of rigorous training make ballet look easy in an accomplished dancer. Thankfully, the prediction when he joined ABT that he would never be a prince because of his height has not come true. The ballet fairy has bestowed upon him, and by extension, upon us, a true partner in Xiomara Reyes. I can't wait to see him dance Albrecht! Angelica
  6. angelica

    Veronika Part

    "the fact that I even noticed her eyes was an astonishment--you almost never notice dancers' eyes, they're so doll-like and disciplined." Talking about eyes... Have you seen the DVD of Swan Lake danced by Nina Ananiashvili with the State Ballet of Perm when she was 29 years old? Her eyes are as expressive as her arms and legs. And on the DVD they show her face up close so you really see her eyes. In her recent performance of Don Q Nina's eyes were alive as can be. My impression is that in Vaganova technique, emphasis is placed on using the eyes, along with epaulement, the head, arms and upper body. I haven't noticed that very much in American-trained dancers, who, in my experience, tend to focus on footwork and extensions. Angelica
  7. Yes, toeprints, it's true that the Golden Age of ballet, at least in my memory, was in the 1960s and 1970s. Remember all those performances that were broadcast "Live from Lincoln Center"? Those were the years that Nureyev and then Baryshnikov were dancing, and Makarova was mounting La Bayadere for ABT. During the 1970s I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, a university town with a very fine music school. At that time I was home raising my children (in those days a family could still live on one income) and I used to run what I whimsically called a "Ballet Alert" service. Whenever ballet was going to be on TV, I rounded up all the girls and boys on the street and we would gather around the biggest TV we could find and watch all together. For awhile I taught the little girls ballet in my living room, just for fun. But I think we're due for a revival. For one thing, although it appears to me that Alistair McCauley, the new dance critic for the New York Times, prefers Balanchine and NYCB to ABT and the 19th century classics, we are definitely seeing more dance reviews than in recent years. For another, I think the quality of dancing at ABT is going up all the time, especially the male dancers, but the women as well. As they say, there is talent "deep within the ranks." The male stars, e.g., Corella, Cornejo, Stiefel, Gomes (and when are they going to promote Sascha Radetsky to Principal?) have that "superstar" quality again, in addition to their exquisite ballet line, like Nureyev. I think Malakhov must be one of the most underappreciated dancers of all time. He was thrilling to watch. Where is he now? Looking ahead to the future, on a personal note, I've been playing the DVD of Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeyechev dancing Swan Lake with the State Ballet of Perm (Nina was 29 years old when it was made) for my now 3-year-old granddaughter since she was a year old, and she was and still is completely mesmerized. She also knows Giselle, Nutcracker and La Bayadere. When she watches Swan Lake she dances along in her white tutu for Odette and her black tutu for Odile, and makes her father (my son), who never had a ballet lesson in his life, play the role of Prince Siegfriend, supporting her and lifting her at the appropriate moments. It's a hoot to watch them. I am grooming her to carry on the torch. Angelica
  8. angelica


    Thanks, carbro. Looks like I posted to Dancers even before reading your post. We were both on the same page, so to speak. Angelica
  9. I also saw this performance and was thrilled to see Cornejo's debut in this role. I understood his partnering in a different way, however. It seemed to me that in his pas de deux with Reyes it wasn't a lack of confidence or engagement with her that caused him to take a less charismatic stance as it was that he was a gallant partner, showing her off rather than himself (very different from some other brilliant male leads). He saved his bravura and charisma for his solos, when he was a miracle of technique. But even then I found him modest. I never get the feeling he is saying "Look ma, no hands," but rather that he has an innate talent and a respect for ballet that drives him to do the very best that he can--appropriately allowing his ballerina to shine in their pas de deux and dancing naturally full out in his solos. Angelica
  10. Hi dancedance 40. I'm glad you enjoyed Sleeping Beauty. Speaking of Stella....[Note: I posted this in the Dancers section of this site, but it seems appropriate here as well, since you're asking about her.] I'm worried about Stella Abrera. She was supposed to dance the title role in Giselle on the Wednesday matinee in July. Then I heard that she was injured and had been taken out for the rest of this season. I also heard that she had been injured three years ago. Does anyone know the extent of her injuries and whether/when she will dance again? I love her and was so much looking forward to seeing her in Giselle. Thanks, Angelica
  11. angelica


    Hi Kathy, Thanks for your welcome message. Have you ever studied ballet? Who are your favorite companies/dancers? Isn't this a great site to share love of ballet as well as information? Best wishes, Angelica
  12. angelica


    Hi Pamela, thanks for responding to my post. I'm envious that you danced professionally. I never had the opportunity to do that. But I'm sorry about your injuries. That must be so discouraging. That's why I'm so worried about Stella Abrera. I've been told that she is injured and out for the entire season and that three years ago she also sustained an injury. It's exciting for me to be taking ballet classes again after 30 years of not dancing. As for enjoying performances, I couldn't agree with you more. That's why I am very very selective about which performances I attend. Everything has to be perfect: the ballet, the cast, the seats. I only go to ballets I believe I'll enjoy and I'm rarely disappointed. I follow the New York dance scene via the NY Times and other outlets, so I generally know what's going on. But since I'm a purist when it comes to classical ballet, I don't go to NYCB anymore. I gave them another chance three years ago when I bought a subscription, but I was disappointed and that was that. I should have been born a Russian with hyperextended knees and a perfect turnout! Angelica
  13. Hi Pamela, I'm new to this site, which is a fantastic resource. I'm looking for a very fine video of Giselle. Maximova is one of my two favorite ballerinas of all time (along with Ananiashvili). I didn't know that Maximova and Vasiliev had made a video of Giselle. Have you any idea how I might go about getting a copy? Angelica
  14. angelica


    Christian, Thank you so much for putting me onto that thread! I will read it as soon as I can. This group is an amazing resource.
  15. I agree that the Met Opera House is huge and the center sections, even first row, are too far from the stage to see the faces of the dancers. My solution is to get seats in the side Parterre (box seats). Even though you lose a fraction of the stage, you don't lose very much, and you're really up close enough to see the facial expressions and the mime work. I like boxes 3, 4, 5, and 6 best. And relatively speaking, the seats are reasonably priced. You pay at least twice as much for center parterre and you're too far away to enjoy it. One caution, however: if you get side Parterre seats, ask for first row only. IMHO, you can't see well from the second or third row in those boxes. Angelica
  16. angelica


    Hi Bart, Thanks for replying to my post. It's good to know that there are others like me who are trying to do the impossible and loving every minute of it. This web site is so rich that I could probably lose myself in it for hours without coming up for air--the way I could dance 24/7 if given half a chance. My only constraint, and it's a big one, is time--as I'm sure it is for most of us in this information-saturated world we now live in. I do remember the early years at NYCB--Melissa Hayden, Patricia Wilde, Tanaquil LeClerq and her devastating illness; Maria Tallchief, Andre Eglevsky; and also ABT with Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevich. But I've traveled a long road from there. Fell in love with Gelsey Kirkland, Carla Fracci, and especially Ekaterina Maximova, and then of course, Nina Ananiashvili. As for "If not now, when?" I've been toying with the idea of getting pointe shoes and seeing whether I can recapture any of that facility. Nothing fancy, just a few releves and echappes would make me so happy. As soon as I can find the time.... Does anyone know of a good DVD of Giselle? I have the one with Carla Fracci but they've adulerated the set into a lakeside circle and at the very moment when the corps de ballet does its brilliant crossing of the stage in arabesque plie they show what they probably think is an "artistic" rendering of swans and water. I also have the one with Svetlana Zakharova, and although she has extraordinary extensions, I don't think her expressiveness measures up to that of Maximova or Fracci. Robert Bolle is handsome and does beautiful beats at the end, but I want the perfect DVD of my favorite ballet. Any ideas anyone? Angelica
  17. angelica


    Dear cubanmiamiboy, I understand very well; I used to do that too. But at this point in my life I find myself saying more often, that oft-quoted but increasingly meaningful cliche (cliches become such because they are only too true) "If not you, who? If not now, when?" So not only am I dancing again but I'm attending more performances of ABT--seven this season, which for me is a lot because for many years I had neither time nor money and I could say to myself "Well, maybe next year." But now I have the time, the money, and the inner voice that whispers to me and tells me to go: see Cornejo dance both Basilio and Albrecht; see ALL of Ananiashvilis performances (because she is far and away my favorite dancer of all time and, after all, how much longer will she be dancing?); see Stella Abrera make her debut in Giselle--which now she won't, alas, because of an injury. Stella, if you read these posts, please know that I love you and hope that you will be on stage again soon. Angelica
  18. angelica


    Thanks, Giannina, for your cordial welcome. There are very few people who know anything about ballet where I currently live in Westchester County--even the teachers don't know much about performance history--and it's a treat to find knowledgeable people who love ballet as much as I do. I'm going to stay on this one site at least until the end of ABT's Spring/Summer season in order to see how much time I can devote to it. But after the season I will probably join the other site also, as I'm very interested in "talking" with adults who are studying at a later age, like me. In my "adult" intermediate ballet class, the word "adult" can mean anything from early 20s on up to 70+ (one 71-year-old started at age 40, and she's quite good) The classes are "open," and the teachers tailor the classes to whoever shows up! I'm interested to hear how other adults feel about taking class with 20-year-old semi-professionals. Also it will be nice to connect with others who, like me, love it enough to persist despite time constraints and logistical issues (neither rain nor sleet nor [something] of darkest night....) Best regards, Angelica
  19. angelica


    Hello, my fellow ballet fans. I've been following ballet for the past 58 years, from the end of the careers of Danilova and Markova up to the present day. I always wanted to be a dancer but my parents did not permit me to pursue it seriously. In the days before Nureyev's famous leap to the West, ballet was considered to be, in some circles, in the words of Boris Lermontov of Red Shoes fame, "a second-rate profession" (in the film he was speaking of ballet composers, not dancers). Certainly that's no longer true, thank goodness! I have followed most of the great companies, at least those who perform(ed) in New York; witnessed the famed partnerships of Fonteyn-Nureyev, Maximova-Vasiliev, Fracci-Bruhn, their legatees, and now, at last, Reyes-Cornejo. Is anyone as excited as I am that Cornejo has been given leading roles in major ballets this season? I saw him dance Don Quixote last Wednesday matinee and he was the perfect partner, never upstaging Reyes in pas de deux, but always presenting her gallantly. When it was his turn to solo, he was a miracle--spinning out turns and jumps with incredible grace and ease, and also with modesty. I can't wait to see him dance Giselle with Reyes, who was a charmer and certainly his equal technically. Back to me for a moment. After a 30-year hiatus of not taking classes, I started again a year ago January in a local studio. I'm now taking four-five classes a week. I will never recapture the height and suspension in jumps that I had 30 years ago, but I'll say this: one of the things I was regretting most about aging was the loss of the agility I had always been able to count on; but now, with ballet classes, I've regained my agility in life activities, e.g., walking, running, sitting down and getting up from the floor--abilities you take for granted until you begin to lose them. One thing I'd love to know is what is happening to Stella Abrera. I saw her last year as the Lilac Fairy and said to my husband "She's going to be a principal next year." I even bought a pair of her autographed toeshoes. Well, I see that this year she hasn't been made a principal, but they were going to give her a Wednesday matinee Giselle and I immediately bought a ticket (over and above my ABT subscription). Then I heard she was injured and was taken off the casting for the rest of the season. I'm so sad because she is a beautiful dancer and I was looking forward to years of seeing her dance. I'm glad to be a new member of Ballet Talk and look forward to reading posts from those who adore ballet as much as I do! Thanks, everyone, Angelica
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