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Everything posted by DeCoster

  1. and another debut: Joo Won Ahn as Siegfried (sorry if mentioned)
  2. According to the Master Calendar both Brandt and Lane's Desirees are TBA. Since Trenary is with Gorak for her two, it seems unlikely Lane will be paired with him again. If not Cornejo maybe Blaine Hoven can get a chance here.
  3. I completely agree regarding Gorak. He was much weaker in last year's Sleeping Beauty than several years back with Boylston. And after last week's T&V, I'm afraid I have to avoid him. I feel quite bad for Lane who keeps getting stuck with him and whom I'd rather not avoid. I would much rather see Gabe Stone Shayer get these opportunities, honestly. He shone in Harliquinade and Whipped Cream, and he always seems to rise to the occasion. Great news about Hurlin. Also looking forward to Murphy's return and Kim's visit.
  4. It wasn't a fall season performance. It was one of those July 4 matinees at the Met, a mixed bill. Edited: I found it. (Not July 4, Memorial Day!) " The Memorial Day matinee at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, May 25 will feature Diana Vishneva's ABT debut in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux." My mom and I front row grand tier seats. It was a memorable performance. In my searching I read that Misty copeland and Jared Matthews were to dance Tchai Pas that season. Did that happen?
  5. I think Boylston also danced No Assembly Required (while still in the corps) although I thought I saw it at City Center. In terms of Balanchine, I'm happy with anything except Prodigal Son and Fancy Free, which I've seen too much. (And yet I have very special memories of a Vishneva/ Corella Tchaicovsky Pas that just can't be matched by the current squad.)
  6. But Mack is only dancing one Ali (a Wednesday matinee). I think it's obvious they are bringing him to the Met to dance Conrad with Schevchenko. Do Scott, Klein, Maloney, or the others you mentioned have the size or the technique to pull off that partnering assignment? I don't think they'd want to try! One doesn't need a big fan base to get a chance on the Met stage in one of these big roles. I saw Cory Stearns debut as Conrad with Dvorovenko when he was a 22 year old corps member who most of the audience was unfamiliar with. He had been practicing the role with Veronika Part and Dvorovenko since Gomes was injured that season, yet some of the partnering was still sketchy. Bell has had a lot of opportunities come his way since Gomes resigned, and think it has a lot more to do with his size and skill as a partner than any fan base. Mack has proven himself as a partner in big roles, and has danced Conrad with the English National Ballet. I'm actually with KM on this one. Excited to see Mack, Shevchenko, Trenary, and Simkin in Corsaire on 6/15!
  7. I agree Misty will be an excellent Pierrette. As others have mentioned, she excels in comedic roles. (She was terrific in Coppelia with Cornejo.) It really doesn't make sense to avoid her in *everything* because she can't meet the intense technical demands of Swan Lake. Although Harliquinade is Petipa, it doesn't make the technical demands on the principal dancers of say a Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake. Still I loved it so much, and can't wait to see it again. I think much of the genius in the reconstruction is in what Ratmansky does with groups, but it's also just a lot of fun. Gabe Stone Shayer and Cassandra Trenary were my favorite cast (I saw 3) last Spring. I'm surprised he isn't cast on tour. He's tailor-made for this role.
  8. ABT Fan, I'd love to see On the Dnieper revived too. (I thought I was the only one!) I think only Hallberg and Seo remain from the original lead casts. I also think it would be fun to bring back Bright Stream with this new crop of dancers. Audiences love that ballet. I love the score. I think the Zina role (danced by Reyes, Herrera, and Kent back in 2011) would suit Copeland and Trenary well. And it would be great to see Murphy and Boylston revive the ballerina role. Excited that Harliquinade is likely. I was only able to see one cast (Trenary and Shayer) because I have a small baby to tend to now, and it left me craving repeated viewings. Outside of Ratmansky I'm always keen to see Ashton and Tudor, in particular Les Patineurs, which I've never seen. I think Sylvia would also suit the new crop of principal ballerinas and make sense for the dearth of male principals, since the Aminta role isn't very challenging. Also please ABT management, bring Marianela Núñez back to dance Ashton! I'm not for too many guest artists, but she is one for the ages and a great inspiration to current dancers.
  9. Boylston danced Gamzatti at Mariinsky. Seo danced Giselle, perhaps a year or two later. I think there is some video of both appearances on youtube. Not sure if there was any other coaching.
  10. I was there last night. Boylston was terrific. I think Giselle is one of her strongest roles. She's got mad hops, as they say in the basketball world, and she has really made strides in controlling her tendency to jerk her head and neck with her big jumps. Her leaps, which always soared, now look more effortless with a more relaxed upper body. I think her acting has improved too. There were no technical snafus, and her characterization, especially in the first act, was just wonderful. Strong hops on pointe, lingering balances, and soaring leaps -- yeehaw! Whiteside danced well. I find his Albrecht very haughty and even a bit villainous (particularly when he steals the daisy), which, paired with Forster's somewhat sympathetic Hilarion, creates a weird dynamic for me. I think this contributed to a little lack of magic or chemistry in the second act. I didn't really believe the love story. I wish I could have seen Lendorf with Boylston as I think they would have been magic together in Giselle. Generally speaking, however, I like Whiteside best in Ashton and Balanchine ballets. One criticism: I wish Boylston (and others) would stop "winging" their feet so severely in arabesque, particularly arabesque penche, where it completely breaks the line of the leg. (It's really noticeable if you are not viewing her straight on.) I feel that I may be outside of popular opinion here, as winging is quite the norm, and even expected now. Boylston seems to take it too far, however, where her foot seems almost flexed at times. I'm nit-picking here, as she was pretty flawless otherwise. Teuscher delivered what I thought was a respectable Myrta, but I agree with others it's a work in progress. Excited for her Nikiya! I hope others go on Saturday, as I'm interested to hear your thoughts. One thing I admire about Boylston is her capacity to grow and improve as an artist. I know she has pursued acting coaching independently, and from her Instagram it appears she was receiving coaching in Giselle from Carla Korbes. Something paid off, as she is much better than a few years ago in achieving the slope of the neck and soft arms required of the romantic ballet. Boylston is still not on the level of Vishneva, Ananiashvili, or Reyes (my 3 favorite ABT Giselles), but she's my favorite current ABT Giselle. Admittedly I haven't seen Copeland, but I have seen the rest. Sadly, I think Abrerra could have been great, but injuries have weakened her potential. Murphy lacks the fragility. Lane lacks the jumps (as does Copeland, I'm sure). Seo I need to give another chance, as it's been a few years, but I can't imagine her first act rivaling Boylston's incredibly strong performance.
  11. Thank you for your review NYSusan. I'm glad you were pleasantly surprised by Seo's performance. I felt the same way when I caught her Swan Lake last year. Looking forward to reading everyones' reviews here. I have a small child at home now, so I'm only able to attend five performances this season. I've never seen Boylston's Giselle so I'm giving her a shot this year. It's a pity about Lendorf, but so it goes.
  12. I haven't seen Gisele Bethea on stage this season at all, and between her height and her feet she's hard to miss. Has anyone noticed her?
  13. I forgot about Eric Tamm. I really thought he was a soloist! I recall him partnering Gillian and Stella, so he must have been tall.
  14. Don't get me wrong, I idolized Ferri growing up -- had her picture from Dance Magazine plastered inside my locker at school. I totally agree with you. And we can choose casts based on their strengths. For instance, I didn't go to Misty's Giselle or Swan Lake this season, but I admired her performances in La Fille and Coppelia, where I thought she managed beautifully both technically and theatrically. Like Ferri, she is not suited to everything she is cast in.
  15. Here's just one example that popped up in a quick search, from a 1995 review of Bayadere. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/05/08/arts/dance-review-a-triple-feature-of-la-bayadere.html "Ms. Ferri radiated some of her old luminosity in the "Shades" segment, but her technique here faltered unacceptably for a dancer of her rank."
  16. Thanks Helene. Yes, I wasn't talking about current-day Ferri at all, but Ferri in her prime. Her technical weaknesses were well known.
  17. I would say Alessandra Ferri. She was a weaker turner than Misty.
  18. Getting really off-topic now, but there was once clamoring on here for a revival of the Tudor R&J. (I still remember Reyes and Cornejo dancing the bedroom pas de deux when they had the Tudor celebration season at City Center) This is something I'd like to see in favor of the MacMillan production. The Fall season is generally devoted to mixed bills. I thought the current Spring programming was in part due to the size of the Met stage, which seems to demand sets and spectacle. Rooting for Les Patineurs this fall!
  19. This is why I only sit or stand in the grand tier or dress circle. I had a fairly nice orchestra seat (row L) that I got through the rush program for Don Q, and I found I still prefer the cheaper seats in the dress circle because of the pitch and the perspective.
  20. I think reviews of Seo in Giselle have been favorable, both here and elsewhere. She also danced Giselle with Marinsky ballet. Swan Lake, however, is a different animal (pun intended ;)
  21. I went last night as well, and agree with much of what has been said both about Hee Seo's inconsistency and Marcelo Gome's magnificence. In Act II I was completely enchanted with Seo's dancing. Her pirouettes to penche (all supported expertly by Marcelo, mind you) are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Her back and arms achieve that boneless quality wonderfully, and the swan arm movements seem second nature, connected through her whole spine. Her developes unfurl so naturally, singing with the music. Her leg shape and back bend in attitude are unparalleled. For me, Seo and Part present the most transcendent Odettes at ABT right now. The white swan pas de deux was so lovely, I could feel the whole audience sort of sigh in response to its beauty. Yet in act 3 things fell apart for Seo. She had a small but awkward hop in the pirouettes to attitude sequence near the beginning, nothing terrible but a habringer of things to come for her Odile. Later I think she even fell off pointe a bit in the diagonal sequence. I noticed during Corsaire that Seo's pique turns lack attack-- she steps under herself instead of extending beyond herself. (Paloma Herrera did the same, especially toward the end of her career) I wish they could pair Seo up with Nina Annaisvilli for some coaching to see if there is any way to develop this small drive or elevation when stepping out onto pointe in her pique and chaine turns. The fouettes were rough. She started with a double, but as in Corsaire she came off pointe early in the set and did a sort of hopping fouette thing to cover (which doesn't look easy, but doesn't look good either). I really can't understand why a dancer of her level would fall of pointe 3 or four turns in. It has to be nerves. I think she executed 23 or 24 fouettes ending terribly in a messy wide fourth, then turning and running to the backstage corner, as Marcelo came out early to cover. I think maybe she was attempting a double, but her body was completely crooked in the end. I actually preferred Misty Copeland's approach in her Met debut (I didn't see her this round) of switching to pirouettes from fifth--retaining her balance and strength--and finishing with the music. This at least seems in tune with the power and illusion of Odile, versus falling over and running to the corner. The way I see it, in terms of the fouettes: Misty had a plan; Seo just fell apart. (Not to say that I prefer Misty Copeland's performance in Swan Lake. I much prefer Hee Seo, despite her weaknesses.) I don't know what to say about Marcelo that hasn't been said. I went last night with a group of non-ballet goers, and he was the highlight for them too. His turns seemed really on last night. He was doing that thing that I always admired Carreno for where he actually pauses in pase releve after a multiple revolution pirouette, allowing him to land softly and perfectly with the music. The only place I notice Marcelo's age is a little droop or lack of elevation to his back leg when he has to land a jump--like a tour jete-in arabesque. Last night, however, he was firing on all cylinders, and Seo really blossomed under his expert partnering. (I'm not sure I've ever heard an audience spontaneously applaud for a supported pirouette before, but as Victura mentioned he must have spun her around a dozen times at blistering speed, ending perfectly with music) Marcelo's energy in the black swan pas was so intense and his performance so strong in his variation, that it didn't really fit that this Odile was the one bewitching him. I enjoyed Stearns' ballroom Von R. He is a bit more sly and mysterious than Gomes' depiction, but I thought it worked. And those sissones sure look good on him. The corps was great, and seemed much more in unified than in Giselle. Maybe because they do it every year. As others have noticed, Melanie Hamrick is looking better than ever, back from her maternity leave. Her pas de trois with DeGroft and Hoven was quite nice, and I always enjoy the camaraderie between Hoven and Gomes when they are cast together. If Calvin Royal and Gabe Stone Shayer aren't promoted to soloist soon I'll be surprised, but I do really love seeing them shine in corps roles. They seem to infuse the male corps with extra energy and gusto, no matter the role. Maybe I'm a pathetic home teamer, but despite Seo's struggles, I left the theater pretty happy last night. I have avoided her in full-lengths recently, after her disappointing substitution for Seminova in Bayadere, but her Odette is really something special to witness (especially with Gomes as her prince). Curious to hear how she fairs with Stearns on Friday. Thanks for all of the reports on Teuscher's debut. I wish I could have been there. Can't wait to hear about Lane. I'm a fan (loved her Aurora and Giselle!), but admittedly have trouble picturing her in this role, as she does not impress me as a great adagio dancer, and that is so crucial for Odette.
  22. Thank you for the information, Natalia. I wish ABT would perform the reconstruction, although I know I am in the minority in this opinion and it is also very unlikely.
  23. Agreed, FauxPas, Boylston's lack of lyricism and sometimes jerky upper body is much more of an issue for me than whether she performs 32 fouettes. I'm disappointed she has not progressed in working on this. And fouettes don't come easy to Boylston without injury. I recall her travelling all over the stage and not being able to finish all 32 a couple years ago in Don Q. (Different ballet, same trick.) IMO, the menage, done with speed, power, and perfect musicality, can be a better choice for some dancers. I recall someone here stating that Sara Mearns chose this option (a more recent example), and she was nowhere near the twilight of her career. I also recall learning, perhaps here, that the original Ivanov staging did not have the fouettes, but they were added later for a specific virtuoso ballerina. (Kind of sounds like what we were talking now--modifying choreography to suit a particular dancer--doesn't it?) Anyone know if Ratmansky's reconstruction includes the 32 fouettes?
  24. I don't have time to say much, but a few comments about Saturday's matinee and Hee Seo in particular: But first . . . there is a lot of talk on here and elsewhere about Copeland's technical limitations, but I must report she completed that tricky third act section with the emboites leading into the double pirouettes from fifth without a hitch. (I've seen other dancers, including Abrerra struggle there.) In general, I'm happy with Copeland in this role. I enjoy her carriage, port de bras, and upper body. She doesn't have much of a leap (which is why I shy away from her Giselle), but that is not a huge disappointment for Gulnare. Hee Seo, on the contrary, seems to have bigger grand jetes than ever before. I noticed this watching her Mercedes and it was even more apparent on Saturday. (I have never seen Seo's Giselle, and I would like to some day. She has a wonderful lightness and buoyancy.) Yet I am still of a divided mind about this ballerina. I remember when she danced a lead role in Kudelka's Desir, still in the corps. The beauty of her lines and fluidity of her movement were captivating. She looked like a star to me, certainly more polished than Boylston, also a corps standout during that time. Since then I have had mixed experiences. I adored her in R&J and later Ashton's Cinderella, but not so much in Bayadere or La Sylphide, where she struggled visibly at points and sometimes literally stumbled. (My husband, present at both of these performances, characterizes Seo as "not a very good dancer.") Veronika Part has had inconsistent performances over the years, but there is more riskiness and transcendence to her dancing, so the baubles seem somehow worth it. Watching the recent instagram videos of Annaisvilli's pique menage made me think in particular of Seo's pique turns and how she doesn't really drive forward with much power or energy. Everything is sort of underneath her and a bit tentative. So went Saturday's performance of Corsaire. Her stumbles were fairly minimal, a bit of odd hopping in fouettes when she seemed to come off pointe yet kept going and one unfortunate double pirouette where she was crooked from the start and landing awkwardly. Otherwise, her dancing was secure but too guarded for my taste. I'm holding out hope for Wednesday's Swan Lake. If Marcelo can't bring out the passion in Seo, I don't know who can. And I think her plasticity and grace will suit Odette well, if she can just keep that supporting ankle strong and roll through her foot coming off point. James Whiteside was the highlight of Saturday's performance for me. He was absolutely perfect in his dancing with clean landings all around and great musicality. He partnered Seo easily. Her supported pirouettes whirled beautifully, and the lifts were all easy and nice. I also think he is perfectly comfortable with the silliness of this ballet. He pursues silliness seriously, and it shows. Bravo James! Corps member Joo Won Ahn isn't quite there with all of the tricks and spins, but I still enjoyed seeing him featured in Corsaire. He has quite the physique and gets huge air in his grand jetes. I hope he develops into something special; I see princely potential there, for sure. I really appreciated Cirio's Landekem, especially his strong mime. The Odalisques (sp?) were OK. April Giangeruso replaced Catherine Hurlin. I find Giangeruso a bit ungainly at times. In general she needs to work on her upper body and learn to relax her shoulders which seem to rise as the choreography gets difficult. She also needs to be mindful of her elbows which drop or collapse inward when she turns, all the more noticeable on a tall dancer. Trenary was spot-on in her variations. (She and Lane are my favorite petit-allegro women at ABT at the moment.) Should ABT continue to present Le Corsaire in future seasons? I say no. It's time to move on. But I'm glad I went once this season, and I was really pleased that Misty delivered all the goods for her young adoring fans.
  25. Do they, though? Both Lane and Copeland have danced with Simkin, Cirio, and Cornejo. And Boylston has danced with Cirio and Simkin several times now. And then we have Trenary and Brandt waiting in the wings. (Trenary dances with Cornejo twice this season: in Whipped Cream and the wedding pas from Sleeping Beauty. Excited to see a partnership develop there.) I do wonder if Cornejo has a preference for partnering Kochetkova. I can't imagine she sells tickets.
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