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mimsyb

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Everything posted by mimsyb

  1. No, Vipa, you are not crazy. I too feel that Osipova is unmusical and more importantly not always able to relate well dramatically with a partner or to others on stage with her. Sometimes as observers we are so pulled in by the (granted) superior jumps and other technical feats, we either miss or ignore other things that go to make up a true artist. For me, neither her"Sylph" or her "Giselle" made an impression. Once the performance was over, not much remained. (except those jumps!). Her acting is juvenile (well, she is young), but not in a good way. Immature would be a better word. Too much grimacing and "now I'm acting for you" stuff going on. She never seemed to unite the dancing and the role she was playing. When the acting, or lack there of, get in the way of the entire being on stage, a dancer loses me and I begin to watch other stuff on the stage. I am almost tempted to say I'd rather see her in a more abstract ballet. One with NO acting, just dance and then critique her. As I said, she's young and has time with proper coaching to learn. Or we can continue to applaud her and she will grow untended and develop mannerisms that will one day play against her. I'd avoid her "Sleeping Beauty" and only see "Romeo" if you must.
  2. I don't disagree with you. But that's the self-made trap he finds himself in, isn't it? The outside work pays the bills but lessens the need for a specialized company. If you can see a Wheeldon piece practically anywhere, why do you need Morphoses? I stand by my "promiscuous" remark. He's too available . . . and that makes Morphoses less of an exclusive, destination event. And if he stands firm in not staging those works (and future Morphoses works) for other companies, then Morphoses becomes that "exclusive, destination event" I mentioned above. Well, one could argue that you can see Balanchine performed by almost every company under the sun these days, but that New York City Ballet is still relevant. Wheeldon for me is a bit of the "same, old, same, old" all the time. Many of his ballets are unremarkable and some are plain dull. And some of his better things are performed better by other companies. (San Francisco Ballet as an example). And I can't see him taking on the mantle of Robert Joffrey. Their esthetic just isn't the same. For a touring company to succeed you have to offer the audience a bit more than dancers in endless contortions that come to nothing. After seeing the recent "Seven Sonatas" from Alexei Ratmansky at the ABT Fall Season, one can easily distinguish a master ballet maker (Ratmansky) from a choreographer that has been hyped too quickly and from whom we can probably expect very little. Sadly, Wheeldon is not Balanchine's heir. But he may have been able to grow and improve had he stayed at City Ballet. At least there he had some of the best dancers around to explore and help shape his work. All the money in the world can't make a great choreographer. I think Balanchine at one time worked for a dollar a year!
  3. I attended the Sunday evening performance of this venue. I had sort of hoped that at least one of the recent choreographers from the Avery Fisher venue would have spoken and elaborated on how he/she decided to use the space in any specific way. Alas, not to be. While the professional dancers were quite effective and some of the information regarding sets for various theaters was interesting, this for me, was one of the least interesting of the programs that ABT has put on. Some of the student stuff we've sort of seen before to some degree, although perhaps not specific to Bouroneville. Anyway, the evening seemed a bit dry. The Barton work excerpted from the piece presented at Avery Fisher made no sense without some input from the choreographer. The pas from "Seven Sonatas" was lovely, even without the other sections of the ballet. I miss the terrific finger sandwiches they used to serve at the receptions (economic tough times, I guess), but the cookies were pretty good!
  4. Agreed, will NYCB claim squatters' rights? I would like to see NYCB at the MOH as well. NYC has plenty of great venues: BAM, Park Avenue Armory, Radio City, NJPAC. Unlike some I rather liked the Avery Fisher venue. My seat in the front row of the first tier (while a bit far back) was perfect viewing for dance. (but talk about far away, Radio City Music Hall makes the performers look like midgets!). Anyway, one of the things that AFH has going for it as opposed to say City Center, the Koch and even the Met is a real entrance lobby that one can enjoy before passing the ticket taker. None of those mentioned theaters has any place to sit, have a snack or a pre-theater drink or coffee before one gets through to the main area. What a nice thing to be able to not feel shoved and and packed in. I've never been able to understand why both the Met and the Koch have such an unwelcoming entry area. Once through the ticket taker it's fine, but such a crush before. Avery Fisher is more European in that respect. Also, the entry has nice light, again welcoming not dark like City Center tends to be. A couple more pluses. Restrooms (plenty), legroom (hooray!), and professional ushers who seemingly liked their job. Never rude or surly once! I loved the "open" stage before the performance . While probably not what one would like before "Swan Lake", for these more experimental pieces it was a great touch! To see these wonderful athletes prance and stretch before and then see them pull it all together for the work was for me a breath of air! And while I didn't love all the work presented, I felt this was an excellent venue for what was shown. It would be nice if ABT, along with their other venues did a short season like this every year. I can think of no better way to spend a nice Fall evening than to sit by the new fountain before the show and then enter into a bright space full of energy and talent! Kudos to ABT for this!
  5. Ratmansky's "Seven Sonatas" absolutely would fit into any great classical company, both here and abroad. I can't imagine any artistic director saying "no" to this piece. A wonderful challenge, technically and a wonder to watch. Every viewing brings new depth of pleasure. Kudos to ABT for this one! The Millepied would look good on San Francisco Ballet, or Pacific Northwest, possibly even Miami City could have a go at it. Personally, I think it needs some tweaking, but it has such great energy going for it. The dancers seem to be having a wonderful time. As for the Barton, the less said the better. Ouch! What a dud. Even the costumes aren't worth saving. The men in their black suits look like refugees from the male variation from Paul Taylor's "Cloven Kingdom". If only this ballet had that work's energy and drive. I found myself nostalgic for last season's Stallings piece, also a dud. Well, you can't win them all. For the most part the Avery Fisher experiment has been a winner. It surely gives a new perspective to the company. Off to the matinee!
  6. Yes, someone at ABT fell down on the job in that department. How hard is it to get someone to listen to the ladies' speech and get it right for them? In truth, the intro speech came across as sort of a bad awards ceremony speech with the ladies alternating lines as they did. It would have been a nicer gesture if Kevin had come out and made a nice speech, especially since they were performing in a new space. And yes, the evening was long. I would have eliminated "The Dying Swan". Coming where it did in the program it sort of fell flat. The other works were all interesting (especially the Millepied who made the best use of the odd space), and it will be good to see them all again. I wasn't as thrilled with the lighting as in most instances the dancers faces seemed to fade and disappear. Loved the "casual" look of the dancers warming up. A fun evening and certainly different!
  7. I too am trying to see this from both sides. In my view, the Union should have been brought into this. On Broadway with Actor's Equity they have a "show cause" clause that mandates that management must "show cause" for dismissal and all sides have the opportunity to be heard. A recognized, valid reason for dismissal must be proved. Management cannot simply fire or release someone.
  8. Not Lady Capulet. That was Kristi Boone. Stella played one of the Harlots.
  9. Or see all three of them and really enjoy your NYC trip!
  10. I am so glad someone could put what I feel about Sylvia into words. I know the audience will be filled with enthusiastic families on 7/4 and I will be joining them. Excited to see Alex Hammoudi's Orion!t Now if only those point shoes could be a bit more quiet! The corps, especially in Act I sound like a herd of cattle entering the corral! Even Vishneva's shoes were noisy throughout the performance. I find that she blurs much of the delicious Ashton footwork and goes for the big picture usually. In her Act II, she seemed to be channeling herself a bit much from last year's Scheherazade, but redeemed herself in the purely classical Act III. Stiefel underdanced a bit but partnered well. Jared Mathews was largely ineffective as Orion. But this is a wonderful ballet for ABT. Musically and visually, it's a standout. The best overall performance for me was last night's Wiles/ Bolle/Stearns/Simkin. Wiles is really suited to this work and she found freshness and beauty in her dancing that sometimes goes missing. Maybe the partnering of Bolle helped. They were wonderful together. Stearns danced and acted convincingly. As for Simkin, he seems to be able to do almost everything thrown his way this season. His Eros had an elegance yet at the same time a sense of humor. A delight. I'd like to see this ballet remain in the rep. (and hopefully add "La Fille Mal Gardee!). Ashton has an extraordinary way with non human characters, at the same time he remains the most human of choreographers.
  11. I'm guessing that each of the new works will have the musicians on stage with the dancers because there is no pit. What an awful hall for a ballet company! Several years ago a production of "Pacific Overtures" (Sondheim) from Japan played at Avery Fisher. It was a stunning production and utilized the space in an amazing way. It had an enormous cast, a full orchestra (that I believe was above the playing area), and used a ramp down the middle of the orchestra seating, as well as the full stage. The sets were gorgeous as was the entire production. It had quite a bit of generous movement in it and for that everything fit quite nicely. I'm not advocating a ramp for ABT, but sometimes odd spaces and venues can provide a clever and inventive choreographer a new way of looking at movement. We are so used to the usual stage arrangement. I for one look forward to the possibilities. By the way, I saw this Japanese production on three occasions, each from a different seat in the house (orchestra, side tier box, and way in back upstairs.) Each seating had a perfect view of the stage. Given the right repertoire, it may prove to be just fine!
  12. Doesn't it sometimes depend on availability of any particular site for a particular time frame? Theaters tend to book their spaces months if not years in advance. Perhaps nothing appropriate was available for the time frame. It will be a challenge, but we can hope the choreographers will rise to the occasion and something wonderful could come out of the venue change.
  13. I won't repeat the kudos from so many about Vishneva/Gomes as they correspond to mine. Sensational!! But what strikes me about many of the reports is that they talk about the messiness of the corps and other parts of the ballet. I've attended all performance so far, and the corps, etc. is not improving. It's sad when one of the finest classical companies in the world cannot put together and rehearse a corps de ballet that is spot on perfect, yet sadder still that we, the audience, forgive it because of the star power presented in the leads. That the pas de trois, purple Rothbart, the corps, and yes, even the orchestra are not all superior in content should not be forgiven. We should not have to wait from dazzling moment to dazzling moment for our pure enjoyment of this work. If the whole production were of a higher quality how much more our appreciation would be and even the dazzling star power moments would fit more appropriately. ABT is a fine company. There is no excuse for some of the casting and certainly no excuse for the sloppy dancing. ABT deserves a better production, to be sure. But even the one it has should be given a better rendering. It seems this week the juice has been drained from the company. I will continue to attend, as I too love the wonderful pairings of the stars. I only wish there was more meat on the bones of this work and more consistency in its production.
  14. I agree with Corella still being amazing. I never saw him in his younger years, but his technical capabilities are still much much more than good, even if they might not be what they once were. I agree Corella is much better than any other danseur at the ABT, with the exception of Hallberg, who, for me, is at least at Corella's present-day level from an overall evaluation perspective and has the potential to grow into more. But Hallberg, despite all his commendable qualities, is not (yet) a superb actor (with that not being a negative, because sometimes I think Hallberg chooses subtlety and finesse over more obvious ways of acting communication). Also, Hallberg has the benefit of a beautiful natural physique and elegant frame, and height and handsomeness. While Corella is handsome as well and has an open, inviting face, Corella did not start off with those all of those natural advantages and therefore is to be particularly commended for his remarkable achievements. Corella's acting is so much better than any ABT principal's (male or female) I have seen. Many small changes in body position, meaningful glances at his partner, the way he might sway his head, or shift his hand -- all of those things can, in some ways, be said to be more than "acting" and to make his acting blur with his overall "occupation" of the role of Prince Siegfried. It is quite amazing that Corella can do so much with just his face, although it is his whole body that is involved in expressing what is happening with the Prince throughout. And yet Corella's acting doesn't seem contrived. It seemed natural and genuine. I also saw last night's SL. I felt Corella was a bit distant in his Act I acting, and not his usual self in the dancing department. Even my seat mate noticed the weight gain and I think his dancing at times looks more forced than usual. But he pulled it together for Act II, both acting wise and in his dancing. Still, he seems to have lost a lot of his youthful fluency, especially in transitions from one jump to the next or in his turn preparations. I agree that Gillian has improved her White Swan in many ways, and her passion has deepened as displayed by her extraordinary flexibility of her back. What can one say about her Black Swan? She out did herself in many respects, including the fouettes with the multiple turns (yes, they were quads) and the new arm waving. It can border on a circus act at times, but in truth by that time of the evening I was ready for some excitement. For most of the evening I sat numb. Saveliev was not very effective as purple Rothbart. (they should take Isaac Stappas out of the Ninja suit and give him a go at the role. He's the best villain at ABT, and he's pretty sexy on the eyes.). The Pas de Trois for the most part was a yawn. Ricetto looked dazzling, Abrera started out OK but faded into her variation, and Mathews was well, Mathews. Not much going on. I'd love to see Joseph Phillips or Erich Tamm given a chance at this. Both would generate more excitement. The swans were pretty much hit and miss. Many instances of dancing off the music and not dancing together. Arms at different angles and arabesque heights not uniform. The four Cynettes were fine, although dancing at a rather moribund tempo. The two big swans (Leann Underwood and Melanie Hamrick) again not in sync. And neither could do the entre chat sixes (a common problem with the ABT women). Nancy Raffa as the Queen Mother was excellent, although I had a hard time getting the image of her stunning portrayal of Madge in last weeks "La Sylphide" out of my mind. In many ways, "Swan Lake" is the ultimate test of a company and it's resources. Last night fell short. But I'm seeing all the other casts, so somewhere in there there has to be a fully realized performance. And my last gripe of the evening. Can't someone at ABT or the Met do something about the total inappropriate use of cell phones and Blackberrys during the performance? The lady sitting on my other side (Grand tier) was texting the entire performance! This has gotten totally out of control and the ushers do nothing even when you mention it to them. The lady texting told me "to mind my own business". Apparently she thought she was at the ball game. Please someone HELP!!
  15. The stuffed swan is a bit of a problem. I've seen all the "monster Rothbarts" do this role, and to my eye only Isaac Stappas reveals the swan facing towards stage right, so more of the audience can see the "bird in hand" (so to speak). All the other Rothbarts bring the bird out facing stage left, and because the action takes place in the downstage corner and because the bird is caught in the light coming from the wing many in the audience miss the moment. And only see the bird's behind,not it's head. By facing the bird to the right, it benefits from the back light from the wing, thus more people see it. I sometimes wonder if anyone bothers to watch the action from the house, or ever goes up to Grand Tier or Dress Circle to see how an action "reads" from different vantage points. The audience is more than just those in the orchestra. mimsyb
  16. While I too think she is an amazing dancer with a rare sense of space for which her jumps seem to go on and up forever, still I found this entire performance to be strangely unmoving. I'm sure I'm totally in the minority here, but I found her first act cloying and a bit "weepy". Hard to get a handle on it, but I didn't feel much rapport between Osipova and Hallberg. While he does seem aloof at times, he seemed to be having a tough time relating to her. She just sort of dances for herself. Beautifully, but...... Her second act was one expression throughout, rather like a mask. I sensed a lack of "soul" to the performance. Compare with Nina's final "Giselle" when she broke our hearts, not once but twice. Osipova is young and will most definitly improve and grow. I also would prefer a bit of color to her first act dress which looked like a frilly nightgown all in white. Very girlie, girlie. mimsyb
  17. Agreed. She was one of the few good things in "Desir". All passion and extraordinary sweep to her dancing. And for me she was the best of the 'Olgas' in "On the Dneiper". One could see leaving home for her! She dances big and with great assurance. Her Myrta was a bit unsteady, but that was probably nerves. She will only get better. I'm always drawn to her whenever she's on stage. mimsyb
  18. I agree that the programming idea was a winner with the Balanchine/Tchaikovsky. It certainly showed a wonderful range of work from the genius of Balanchine. While City Center would be a bit small for this, I would love to see ABT dance the glorious "Symphony in C" (it would show better at the Met) But what a showcase for all the dancers of this company. With it's four sections (movements), it would keep the casting people busy for days, while affording us, the audience an opportunity to see all the levels that this company can field. One can dream! mimsyb
  19. Do you mean the film "Isadora" with Vanessa Redgrave or the marvelous other Isadora film that starred the wonderful British actress Vivienne Pickles in the title role. ? Totally a non dancer, Ms. Pickles brought huge passion and clarity to the role. Well directed and with a good script, a non dancer could realistically play Fontyne. It also would depend on the story line. While we define the life of Fontyne by her dancing (duh!), still her other life away from ballet could prove quite a story. Wait and see. mimsyb
  20. Wendy Whelen as Elizabeth and Gillian Murphy as Mary. Boris Eifman as choreographer! Or cast a man in the role of Elizabeth. That would make for a better pas de deux situation, even though the two characters presumably never met. Only the barest suggestion of costumes. Perhaps a neck ruff on leotards. Phillip Glass music. mimsyb
  21. Part would make the most sense as she doesn't dance until Saturday evening. But don't underestimate Nina. She stepped in for Vishneva last year with little notice. Maybe better to go with experience.
  22. Apologies to anyone I may have offended with my words regarding the Osipova saga. My teeth were (and are still) knashing over the date changes, etc. like everyone's. Until it was pointed out to me by my friend in subscriptions to read the "fine print" at the bottom of all brochures about "all casts and programs are subject to change". That said, I agree that if ABT knew of this conflict it might have been better to have left the dates TBA until everything was cleared up. Happy customers come back. Alas, it's an imperfect system. Again, apologies if my words were misconstrued. mimsyb
  23. The Osipova saga continues.....I just took a look at ABT's website. The Sylphide for Fri Juen 19 is now listed as TBA/Hallberg. So it looks like Osipova is out of the June 19 performance. Typical of ABT to bait and switch on casting. It's happened numerous times in the past, and so now I expect it all the time. and in the greatest of ironies--i switched my tickets from the 17th to the 19th because originally the 17th was the date that she was double booked.... argh! All this "yadda, yadda about Ms. Osipova and when she does or does not dance is amazing. My guess is that most of us have seen her only at YAGP or on Utube, so that there's much anticipation about seeing her live in a complete ballet. Scheduling is very difficult. Many dancers and companies make arrangement months if not years in advance. But the deal is that if she's good, which she is, and if she sells seats, which undoubtedly she will, she'll be baaaaak! To think otherwise would assume ABT doesn't have a clue commercially speaking. This is about good business. It would be splendid if Ms. Osipova left the Bolshoi and became a permanent member of ABT now that her friend, Alexi Ratmansky is here. I admire Veronica Part for making her break. It has taken her awhile, but she is now dancing better than ever (and probably more often) than when in Russia. Meanwhile, there are so many other splendid dancers to choose from in all the roles, so if I miss Ms. Osipova this season, I'm sure there will be other seasons. At ABT there's always a wealth of talent to look forward to seeing. A great ballet company is made up of more than just it's stars. To me, the corps and secondary roles are all equally as important, or else the ballet doesn't work as a total package. The glory of ABT's corps is always such a pleasure: I often find myself training my opera glasses on many of them rather than the leads. So, my advice is, try for her performances, but if you're unlucky there, open yourself to all the other possibilities that make the ABT Spring Season such a joy! mimsyb
  24. Yes, I too thought Arron Scott gave us a wonderful "Tico Tico". He got the Taylor movement without the mugging that is starting to already creep into some of the others performances in this piece. Also saw the new soloist addition, Daniil Simkin in the role on Friday night and was dismayed at his take on it. Ok, he is obviously a good technician (even in trousers, not tights!), but the underpinings of this dance were way beyond him. First of all, he looks about twelve years old, and is not a great match up on stage with any of the other dancers. Someone ought to tell him not to wear so much lipstick on his already wide grin, and the men certainly don't bow along with the women right away, although there he was running downstage with the girls, and then having to be pulled back by, I think, Roman Zhurbin. Maybe this addition to the company is to provide Sarah Lane with a petite partner to match her somewhat overstated talent. I agree she was nice in the corps, but has yet to find any comfort in the soloist catagory. At least the two mini dynamos could match each other grin for grin! For me, the less said about Michelle Wiles in "Theme" the better. Oy! What a mess! Doesn't she hear music? And just because you can do three or four piroettes doesn't mean you should. Less is always more, but with Michelle it always seems like she's out to prove to the dance world she's a contender. Alas, not for this viewer. And poor Cory Stearns! He just looked relieved it was over. Give us Blaine Hoven or Alexandre Hammoudi any day. More later, but will someone please tell Jared Mathews to get a haircut? mimsyb
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