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Everything posted by DeCoster

  1. My friend and colleague Ernabel Demillo hosts a CUNY TV series called Asian American Life. Even before Stella's promotion, I was pestering her to do a profile on one of my favorite ABT dancers. She interviewed her during Nutcracker rehearsals this Fall, and the full profile was released yesterday. It includes clips from La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty (Bluebird variation), and Leaves are Fading, as well as Stella rehearsing the Nutcracker PDD with Alexander Hammoudi. https://youtu.be/4MLEwL-0Vhw?t=20m54s I had to chuckle over the "to Stella's surprise, and probably no one else's . . ."
  2. Thanks for the reports from the triple-sub Sylvia. Sounds like a whole lotta fun. I'm probably not the best person to answer nanushka's question (I can't seem to quote it, for some reason?) in terms of understudies and ABT, but in addition to the obvious example of Stella Abrerra's Giselle last season (not your average understudy, I agree) the first thing that comes to mind is a Met season several years ago (2009?) when Cory Stearns, then still in the corps I think, was thrown into several principal roles for an injured Maxim Beloserkovsky. I remember, in particular, a Corsaire where my mother and I were on the edge of our seats during several partnering passages, afraid he might drop Dvorenko. Although you could see his great potential, he wasn't quite ready for primetime, and it showed. I think the AD had to go to an understudy because the men of ABT were stretched quite thin at the time. I appreciate that this isn't done too often, as I like to see a professional, polished performance, and understudies just don't have the level of coaching (or rest, as others have mentioned) to produce this. Not to mention that the female lead in Sylvia is one of the most (if not the most) technically demanding roles in ABT's rep.
  3. They are in the Corps de Ballet. DeGroftt danced a fairy role last Spring as well. Maybe Candide? http://www.abt.org/dancers/default.asp?section=corpsdeballet
  4. Thank you for your wonderfully detailed reviews, Natalia. I love reading them. Also, thanks for your update on the corps. Catherine Hurlin is certainly taking off fast!
  5. Stella was my favorite in the Bluebird pas de deux last Spring (I saw three casts). I'm very excited for her Aurora. I also thought the choreography really suited Sarah Lane. I do dream of a DVD, foundoffouettes. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if another company like Teatro alla Scalla gets to it first. In the meantime, have you seen the excerpts from the Guggenheim series? It's more rehearsal style, with piano and a small stage, but they do wear the costumes. Precious Stone Fairies are at the beginning. Bluebird with Trennary and Shayer is at 1:15, followed by the Puss-n-Boots and Cinderella variations.
  6. Late to the conversation here, but I have to comment on the irony that we are finding out about Paloma Herrera's recent Giselle via the very media she believes tarnishes ballet (in this case instagram). Considering her past, I also find her comments about media exposure a bit funny and ironic. The media loved Paloma Herrera when she was the teenage prodigy. Consider this quote from the Chicago Tribune (1995): "The popular media have caught up with her, as well. Last year, Herrera appeared on the cover of the New York Times Sunday magazine delicately posed in the middle of a SoHo street. Vanity Fair has featured her twice and she also has appeared in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar." So perhaps Herrera thinks her media attention was justified, whereas dancers that self-promote via social media have an asterisk next to their accomplishments. But if she thinks the self-promotion dancers do on social media "tarnish" one's career, why did she create a personal website (palomaherrera.com) which features an entire gallery of candid and performance shots? A lot of dancers don't have the resources to produce a professional website, but they use Instagram to show the same exact kinds of photos. Others, like Danil Simkin, use it in a more artsy way to document their surrounds and travels artistically. I don't see much of a distinction from a personal website, except that fans can comment and interact more readily. It's interesting to contrast Paloma's end-of-career bitterness with Julie Kent who I notice is always supporting younger dancers on Instagram--including corps members--with the sweetest comments. I'm basically on Instagram for the dancers and a few West Coast friends who abandoned Facebook along the way. As opposed to tarnishing the dancers of ABT and NYCB, I feel it demonstrates their great humor, artistry, and camaraderie.
  7. I don't know if I'd characterize the photos as "horrible" from an editorial point of view, but I think I get what ivypink is saying. A couple images made me cringe, as they caught some of the dancers, Gemma Bond in particular, in very undancerly moments -- mid-jump with floppy feet or falling off pointe. It almost made me wish they let them wear street shoes, and didn't incorporate pointe work. I couldn't believe there weren't better shots.
  8. Are you sure she's here to stay? I thought the announcement was pretty clear that Kochetkova was being brought on just for the 2015/2016 season. And Kochetkova is not "packaged" with Cornejo for every ballet. He's with Lane for "7 Sonatas" and "Sleeping Beauty" and with Misty Copeland for Ashton's "La Fille." I'm not giving up on my Cornejo/ Lane R&J. I remember reading somewhere (here?) that she learned the role. Like Stella, Sarah is waiting in the wings. She knows the steps, and once given the chance . . .
  9. I feel the same way about Kochetkova. I just don't get it. At least not yet. I suppose KM doesn't trust the new soloists with a Sylvia or Swan Lake yet, so he needed to bring in a more experienced tiny ballerina for the season. From what I've seen, however, Syklar Brandt would be a more compelling Sylvia than Kochetkova. She's got spunk and jump in spades! Cornejo and Lane are set to dance Spartacus together in Argentina this November. Hopefully this bodes well for their partnership. I really hoped to see a Lane/ Cornejo R&J this season, but 'twas not to be. By the time she gets the chance to dance Juliet she'll be 40 years old. :-(
  10. I didn't see the Gomes premiere, but I was there Tuesday night and will post some comments. Thanks to laurel and others who posted reviews so far. I enjoyed After You and would like to see it again. It's not all slow moving, as I expected from the reviews here. There are three sections: allegro con brio, adagio, and menuetto (minuet) Stella Abrera and Calvin Royal are well-partnered, and they both wore the costumes well too. (They weren't so appealing on more compact dancers, like Skylar Brandt and Craig Sailstein. In general, however, the costumes look much better in motion than they do in photographs.) Royal has learned to control his exceedingly long arms and fingers, and it is a thing of beauty. He has a grace and joy to his dancing that I quite love watching, and I couldn't take my eyes off of them. I hope they are paired together again in Seven Sonatas in the Spring. Gillian was a stand-out, and held her own with the men for part of the allergo section. This was one of those pieces that didn't dazzle choreographically or reveal anything about human relations, but somehow enhanced or illustrated the music in a keen, pleasing way. There was some interesting man-on-man partnering, some playing with pedestrian movements juxtaposed with ballet, but generally it was all about a congenial taking of turns in illustrating the music. But it looked fresh, and the performances were good. Catherine Hurlin appears to be quite the technician but despite all of her stage experience hasn't quite yet figured out how to project her face to the audience. Still I can't believe that's the same girl I saw dance little Clara at BAM when she looked about a foot shorter than Gillian Murphy. Man, time flies. I don't know why only Devon Teuscher wore a pony-tail and the other women wore buns, but this seemed unnecessarily distracting. It was my first viewing of Monotones, and like an unsatisfied diner at an acclaimed restaurant, I felt like I probably ordered the wrong cast. Misty Copeland and Maria Kochetkova were wobbly in several instances, particularly Kochetkova whose extensions were also a bit low at times, compared to her counterparts. It just didn't glow or captivate, like I thought it could. All three somehow looked bored and stiff. I much preferred the dancing of Veronika Part, Thomas Forster, and Cory Stearns in Monotones II. All three were secure and moved in flowing unison. I'm a fan, but I have to say Veronika was perfection. I don't know if I've ever seen her so pared down and unadorned, in both costume and movement. It was a treat. My husband and I were both intrigued by the music: Satie orchestrated by Debussy (and others). We found a version online when we got home, but the percussion in Monotones I was definitely not what we heard at the theater. I wish I knew the name of the instrument that was missing, but it is very distinctive (and very Debussy) Although I wish I saw the other cast perform Monotones I, I thought that the unitards looked good on all of the body types (in contrast with the After You costumes). I think Misty is leaner than I have ever seen her. She didn't really stand out too much from Kochetkova physically. This review has a photo: https://bachtrack.com/review-company-b-green-table-monotones-american-ballet-theater-lincoln-center-october-2015 Lastly came Green Table, which I enjoyed but don't really need to see again. Marcelo was predictably stompy and powerful. (The makeup is scary as hell, just in time for Halloween.) Herman was predictably sly and quick-footed. Teuscher's solo was strong, and for some reason it made me think I'd like to see her Hagar someday. Sarah Lane gave an expansive, emotionally jarring performance that just made me mad she isn't dancing Juliet this Spring. Looking forward to more performances and Aftereffect this weekend.
  11. Well opinions differ, but I do remember a lot of outcry on here about too many guest artists and not enough opportunities for the home team. Now folks are disappointed there aren't enough guest artists. It seems that McKenzie can't win. I am more excited about ABT's upcoming Spring season than I think I have ever been. I just don't know how I will afford my interest! The only ballet I plan to skip entirely is Corsaire. (I agree with Alastair on that one.) In my opinion Alexi Ratmansky is without doubt the most significant choreographer in ballet today. Isn't it great that ABT has a serious resident choreographer. Let's celebrate! I applaud him for maintaining the relevance of narrative ballet with revivals (some looser than others) and new works. So I'm looking forward to all the Ratmansky evenings and the premiere, but especially the Golden Cockrel. When I received my brochure with Skylar Brandt pictured in the titular role, my excitement grew. I echo Kaysta's sentiments about the importance of providing opportunities to young folks. (Trenary is dancing this role too.) The season brochure also reminded me how fantastic Seminova and Gomes were in Symphony #9. That was a memorable performance for me. I'm glad they're bringing the Trilogy back, and I plan to see each cast. Firebird was a complete no-brainer, since Copeland missed her chance to dance it in NYC due to injury, and her promotion has brought new audiences and attention to ABT. Sleeping Beauty is a wonderful vehicle for the company, and an exceptional tribute to Petipa and Bakst. In this revival he did what the Marinsky couldn't or wouldn't do. It's daring in its restraint and gorgeous in its excess. Moreover, no matter what type of work he is presenting, Ratmansky brings out the best in the dancers. The commitment and effort he derives from them is noticeable onstage, but also evident in their comments in interviews and social media. I saw three performances of Sleeping Beauty last year, and each seemed to sell very well. (I couldn't even get a standing room spot for Isabella Boylston's Aurora) Speaking of Boylston, I'm very excited for her Sylvia debut (correct me if she has danced this role before). I remember seeing Paloma Herrera as Sylvia a few years back, and it was so sad and noticeable how Boylston and Messmer out-danced her. I wish I could have seen Simone Messmer get this chance, but I'm glad Boylston gets to do it twice this season. I think she will provide the attack, exuberance, and jumping power this ballet demands. I don't, however, think it will suit Hee Seo at all. I believe Veronika Part danced Sylvia in the past, but I did not see her performance. She is not cast this season. I found this curious.
  12. I had previously thought of BuzzFeed as the nadir of online journalism, but then they published this long profile of our beloved Stella. I don't know if this is the appropriate place to post this, but I'm glad to see her get some attention, and I thought a few of you would enjoy reading it as well. The term "soloist purgatory" is in the intro. http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattortile/stella-abrera-shes-just-getting-started
  13. yes! Thank you so much for this information. It's interesting to me how Balanchine would make different works to the same music or would revise ballets (changing costumes or other details) over his career. I wonder if other choreographers do this. Is this the version?
  14. I'm a little sad that Seminova isn't part of the Fall season. Seminova has been part of it for the last few, right? I know she was at City Center for the premiere of Symphony #9. I like to think of her as "real" ABT member who does both seasons. Perhaps she wasn't seduced by the rep this year. So I guess Company B was created for Houston Ballet, not PTDC. Interesting that it was created for ballet trained dancers. I wonder if they danced it more like ABT or the Taylor dancers. I think it's healthy and cool for ABT to dance a little Balanchine and Robbins here and there. Although NYCB dancers are perhaps more accustomed to these choreographers, they shouldn't have a monopoly on the choreography. A few years back certain critics were saying that Miami Ballet was producing Balanchine's style better than NYCB. Now the company is dancing much better, yet this is no reason other companies shouldn't dance Balanchine. I've never seen a finer Tchaikovsky Pas than Vishneva and Corella, and I've seen it performed several times at NYCB. And Balanchine didn't just choreograph fast, athletic pieces. Prodigal Son is another work that I preferred at ABT, (although it is not what people think of when they think of Balanchine). And remember when NYCB brought Julie Kent across the plaza to guest in Dances at a Gathering? I guess they thought she was capable of dancing Robbins. ABT has always had diverse rep, and that's a good thing, in my opinion, especially for the dancers. I think some of them probably could have danced at either company, and just like NYCB dancers probably get fulfillment occasionally dancing full-length narrative things like Swan Lake and Coppelia, there are ABT dancers who get fulfillment dancing Balanchine and Robbins. I hope to see Isabella Boylston in Valse Fantasie. I think she'll nail it.
  15. Dark Elegies has pointe work. Michelle Wiles pictured.
  16. The other day I was thinking about On the Dnieper (because of this board, no doubt), and I remembered how I preferred the second (or third?) casting of Messmer and Ricetto in the leads to the first cast of Part and Herrerra. They are two brilliant dancers, both technically and theatrically. Sad I never got to see Ricetto's Giselle.
  17. I suppose it's not a ballet, technically speaking. When I said "going to the ballet," I meant going to see a ballet company perform. But I don't think ballet requires pointe shoes. Is Les Noces a ballet? What about Fancy Free?
  18. I like Company B, but I feel like I've seen ABT dance it way too much in recent years. Misty is often featured in the Rum and Coca Cola section, so it's a vehicle for her, I suppose. One of the drawbacks for me is that it uses recorded music, and part of my enjoyment of going to the ballet is hearing live instruments played. As for Tharp, I would like to see Rabbit and Rogue with its Eifman score, once again. The Cornejo role would be great for Simkin.
  19. Elaine Kudo was one of my teachers! One summer she taught us part of Push Comes to Shove. Incredible stuff. I believe she stages Tharp works for various companies around the world (including ABT). Funny, I never pondered her ethnicity. (I guess kids just don't think about that stuff too much.) Her husband, Buddy Balou, also formerly of ABT, was a ton of fun in class.
  20. Royal is quite tall, yet lanky and perhaps not exceptionally strong (yet). I remember him partnered with Vishneva for a gala pas de deux and Abrera for Seven Sonatas, both lighter ballerinas. He and Abrera made a striking pair. I think Royal has tons of potential, but it is taking him time to control those super-long limbs. I saw his pas de trois the other day in Swan Lake, and although he gets great height his bottom leg kind of lags behind in the cabrioles. His arms can get a little wild too. But he has great stage presence and beautiful lines. I'm excited to watch him improve.
  21. I would prefer to see Copeland dance Kitri and Abrerra dance Nikiya. As an asside, Nikiya does have some bite in ABT's production. (She tries to stab Gazamatti.)
  22. I don't know who it is, but I'm pretty sure it isn't Seo. Seo has a super-tiny frame; the woman pictured appears to have broader shoulders. It's fun to see the dancers reactions. This is my favorite, from Isabella Boylston: https://instagram.com/p/4j1QIKnG-B/ Homegrown talent!
  23. If you look on Julie Kent's instagram there are videos and Misty appears to be crying as well. Let's be nice, folks. Please.
  24. Yup, I believe Nutcracker is already scheduled for Los Angeles.
  25. Full of emotion reading about Stella's promotion. This really made my day. I'm also surprised, but delighted about Luciana Paris. This was really a year for late bloomers, Misty included. Watching Lendorf on YouTube. Wowie zowie.
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