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Everything posted by mimsyb

  1. True, but that may in part be why he is leaving. To dance more now while he still can. Many dancers "re-make" themselves when out of a more structured system such as the PO.
  2. I saw the final rehearsal and was very impressed with this year's crop of young dancers. Great enthusiasm for their work. They tackled the intricate rhythms of "Danses Concertante" with speed and elan. Outstanding! Also fine was the rendering of "Four T's". This amazing ballet can look different depending on who is dancing and here it had an urgency and a "in the moment" look to it rarely seen at NYCB at times. A wonderful showcase for some extraordinary talent. Did anyone see this also and have a report?
  3. I agree; lots of money. My vote would be to revive Ratmansky's delightful "Bright Stream". More dancing for everyone, a wonderful score, and a just plain fun and funny ballet. Speaking of money. I also wish that ABT had spent more on advertising "La Fille Mal Gardee". Not well known in this country, but such a truly fine ballet. What a shame more people didn't know about it and attend.
  4. Oh no. I could never forget Ethan as Ali!! I too saw his final performances in that role and it's imprinted on my braIn. He excelled also as Conrad and had every quality necessary for that role too. Simply one of the BEST....ever!!! And I agree. If only he were out there now. It's a certain charisma that's just not there yet in some of the newer dancers coming up. Can it be learned or acquired in time? I wonder.
  5. How tall are Calvin Royal or Blaine Hoven? Both looking very good this season. I'd give either one a try at this role. Tom Forester? MAybe not your usual choice for Conrad, but he could be interesting with the right partner. He's a good actor on stage, and shouldn't always have to play the bad guy. Mr Heymann simply wasn't up to this ballet (or Gillian for that matter)
  6. I had hoped that Sterling Baca might have been groomed for a future dancer that's versatile and strong and good looking! Alas, guess that's not to be.
  7. I too, remember the halcyon days of just a few years back for this ballet. No one touches Malakov in the role of Lankendem. Shayer, while OK technically, was just OK. And he needs to bring a higher level of acting to this role. Last night was pretty blah. I guess Simkin did stand out as Ali, but as others have pointed out, it's what he does. Very good at what he does, I grant you that. But there are times when I want something other than his two or three famous steps he does in many other roles. I remember Corella's interpretation and I swoon! (and I have no desire to see Vasiliev do this role, nor do I have any good memories of him as Ali. If I want the circus I go to Ringling Bros.) I actually felt that Arron Scott was pretty good as Birbanto. He does have some acting chops, without going over the top. And his technique was just fine. Odalisques were only so-so. I guess if there was one a bit stronger than the others it would be Melanie Hamrick, but neither April Giangeruso or Katherine Williams had a lick of spark to their dancing. Or musicality. My favorite in the "turn solo" remains Renata Pavam, who nailed the variation every time with style and elan and clean, outstanding technique. Pure joy! Luciana Paris lights up any stage and was here quite wonderful as the Lead Pirate. She's been doing this role for years, so she's perfected it to a tee. Stella was superb! What carries her is her stylish acting, which so complements her exquisite dancing. Had she had a stronger Lankendem her pas would have been ravishing. Gabe just struggled too much and she had to pick up the slack. Which brings us to Gillian and Heymann. My first question would be......why was he brought in? He has no "star" power or recognition as some of the imported stars of the past. ( so, no boost to ticket sales). And really, outside of those long legs that split the air nicely in his jumps, I didn't get him at all. Zero rapport with Gillian who did her customary gorgeous rendering of this role . Did he really care about her at all? And there was no sense of fun whatsoever in Act I when everyone is trying to fool the Pasha. As for loving her, there was nothing to indicate anything going on. Maybe this isn't his kind of role, but there are so many dancers out there better suited to Conrad. This made no sense and sort of spoiled the evening in many ways. Gillian gave her all, but sort of to a blank slate. After the previous week of stellar dancing and pure joyful production values in "La Fille Mal Gardee", this "Corsaire" just looked stogy and limp. By the numbers with little overall enthusiasm in the corps. I know it's still a popular "war horse" and can offer many dancers wonderful opportunities to shine, but last night, for me at least, it just didn't come up to standard. I guess it sold better than last week, but there were still many seats empty. I was in the Grand Tier and was able to move to the front row of that section at first intermission. Marketing? Ticket prices way too high? Lack of foreign stars? All of the above? Hard to say, but this season just hasn't come together yet IMO.
  8. Sur la pointe would most likely be the most correct, but "on Pointe" with the "e" at the end would also do. Without the "e" it becomes something else entirely.
  9. While this was fun to see, it seemed so old fashioned and too "cutesy" by half. A few of the same elements are here in the film as well as in Ashton's version. Spinning wheel, tambourine dancing, etc. But I didn't believe any of the "acting". The ABT dancers seemed more like real people even within the scope of the current libretto. Bring on those chickens!!
  10. Bigger by a small bit, but still many empty seats. ABT really did a poor job of "selling" this ballet. But for those of us who did see it, what a delight! Absolutely delicious! I suppose not your usual bravura leaps and turns, still there is much to love and wonder at in this ballet. And it is difficult to do. So many fine details to the choreography. Blazing petit allegro and footwork, both from the male and female leads. Brisse' voiles' all over the place!! And much of the choreography is done with props, which is not your usual form. I can't say enough wonderful things about this ballet. It might be too much to hope for that ABT would do this again, given the lack of usual sales, but if properly marketed, this could be a big winner for ABT, especially with families. BTW. Gillian was radiant last night in her 20th Anniversary performance. Cory muffed two little lifts, but nothing serious. And the two looked splendid together. Many beautiful bouquets from some "biggies" at the finale curtain call... but I was a bit surprised that there were a few faces missing. I mean it was for 20 years of dancing with the company! And I have to add also that Boylston was in her element in this ballet. Both she and Cirio were delightful. More please!
  11. No, I meant Hallberg and Gorak. Also, Hammoudi has done the stand still and look brave role in "Bayadere".
  12. But the corps de ballet is there on stage to serve a purpose. To surround and complete the total "picture" of the work. Whether they are dancing as a "unit", say, in "Giselle" or Swan Lake", or being more "background as in "Don Q". (oh, all that endless finger snapping!) One might think the tall men serving "duty" to Solar in "La Bayedere" are just a waste of the men's time. But everyone learns something, even standing in a line at attention. I think both Hallberg and Gorak have "performed" these roles. These types of roles are necessary to the overall production. Some ballets offer more opportunity than others. The grand 19th Century story ballets are loaded with many non dancing roles. These roles teach discipline and how to perform as a unit, among other things. Some ballets may be more challenging than others. I think that ADs watch for talent in more than just when someone is on stage. Class, rehearsal, etc. are all backstage opportunities for a dancer to show what they can do. Some dancers stand out in a corps. Others fade into the wallpaper. Dancers who don't give 100% while in the corps do so at their peril for future casting. A smart dancer is one who shines in the corps, no matter how small or non relevant a role may be. And a smart dancer learns by watching. The "challenge" as I see it, is to be put in the position of being onstage as much as possible. The cream will always somehow rise to the top.
  13. I also saw the Nerina/Blair/Grant cast when this ballet was first done. I fell in love with it immediately! I also find it to be one of the most pleasurable ballets ever made. It's so filled with details, both from the story telling aspect and also from it's genius technical requirements. Ashton was such a master at allowing the steps to reveal the story and the emotion of a work. Where else does one see petit battement (serre') in the back!!! We know it from countless performances of White Swan. But to see it as a means of showing emotion and excitement in young love (and all the while Lise is being lifted from behind a door!!) Also, those lovely slow supported fouettes, also done with the man behind a door. Genius! Look at the tiny bourrees Lise does when she's on the staircase seeing her lover go away. And then she 'bumps' down the stairs on her rear end like a disappointed child. The Act II pas de deux that really has no dancing in it,; just the two of them embracing. Also enchanting. I look at this ballet as in no way an article for the archives, but another in the long, strong canon of Ashton roles for women. So happy ABT is doing this work and offering our dancers the unique opportunity of learning and performing it. It's as important for them to know this work as it is to learn (or re-learn) "Sleeping Beauty". Just a treasure. And I'm thrilled to see ABT doing such a wonderful job of it's many beauties. Bravo to ABT/Kevin and all the dancers!!!!
  14. I've noticed there has been quite a bit of movement either into or out of the corps this year. Promotions to soloists leave places for newbies to fill. Many corps retirements also from last year. It takes time to find that special voice of the corps. I find that usually by mid season things have become more specific. But I did feel the corps for Chamber #9 was of a piece from start to end.
  15. I totally agree about the courage of ABT to perform the Trilogy as a full evening's work. I've seen all three ballets out of context and they all work well that way, but when seen together, it's such an amazing experience. It may not sell like "Swan Lake", but as a complete evening of dance it's an astonishing achievement. Hopefully, ABT will keep it as a one night event. "Sym. #9" last night was beyond words. Gomes and Teuscher were cut from one piece of cloth. (she has "ballerina" written all over her). They were so "open" and expressive; revealing new depths to the choreography. Stella, the best I've seen her. Salstein showing new strength and energy. But Cornejo ruled the evening. 'nuff said! I also felt the Sat. PM cast for "Chamber Sym." was the stronger one. A very good role for Whiteside. "Piano Concerto#!" was great fun, but I felt the cast from Fri.PM was more invested in the work. The four leads on Fri. were Brandt (very fine), Shevchenko (stronger than on Sat.), and the two men were Gabe Shayer and Calvin Royal. What can you say about these two? Bravo to both. Bravo also to Ratmansky and to ABT.
  16. ABT promoted Whiteside in a year's time. That's not too long a wait, just to get used to the company,etc.
  17. And some dancers get applause just for entering the stage, before they've danced a step! Not sure what happened to Lauren Post in the 2nd Act in Orion's den. (Sat. PM) She seemed to drop out of sight behind the upstage rock, and then came back on for the final exit when the "rock"moves off stage. Catherine Hurlin looked to be holding her up a bit, but didn't dance with the two slave men in the last section. Lauren was supposed to dance Peresphone in Act III, but was replaced. Hope Post is not injured. Perhaps she felt ill. Not sure who took her place as Peresphone.
  18. The pizzicato variation that Sylvia performs in Act III has two false endings, musically speaking. It sounds as it the music has ended, but then it begins again. If one hasn't seen this variation performed, one might assume it is over and begin to applaud. It is technically and stylistically very difficult to dance. The key of course is to make it look effortless and perhaps not difficult. The footwork, the bend of the body, the musicality, etc. are all extremely hard to pull off. Not fouettes, but probably more difficult.
  19. I was there last night and the two women behind me had never seen "Sylvia", but came away loving it. They couldn't stop complementing the dancing, the costumes, the story, the music. Plus, one of them liked the fact that it isn't a very long ballet (just two hours), so even with am eight O'clock start time, one is out by ten PM. I also think a split week of a ballet like this, maybe paired with "Bright Stream" for the other half of the week. Personally, I would hate to see ABT diminish it's commitment to dancing Ashton. In fact, I wish they would do more. They do a wonderful "Birthday Offering", that would give many dancers an opportunity to be on stage. Ashton's works are simply some of the best in all of ballet. MO
  20. Yes! Saw him at a rehearsal for "Cockerel" recently. He plays the old Tsar. Great fun. Hope he might stick around in coming years for more roles.
  21. And there was that time a few years back when Hee Seo stepped into Black Swan in "Swan Lake". I think she may have replaced an injured Gillian then also. She turned in a ravishing performance; I never dreamed her capable of doing such a thing. Amazing. The wonder of last night was that the three women and two men really were able to capture the remarkable beauty and structure of Ashton's choreography, while at the same time never losing the story line. In fact, for me, that story line grew in strength as each new dancer took over. It certainly proves to me that ABT has great depth in it's Principles, along with strong coaching and guidance. For all the chatter about pushing the younger generation forward, last night proved that the right choice was made by Kevin to dance last night as a "three play". As a matter of fact, all the smaller roles looked that much more solid as a result of having such a strong roster of lead dancers. Mind you, I'm not advocating this duality as a policy, but when things happen suddenly, especially at the start of a season, it's important to bring the most seasoned and reliable dancers on to make an evening viable. But going forward I'm also not so sure it wouldn't be such a terrible thing to have a multi cast on certain occasions. Last night's house was not full in many areas, but I bet if this "triple play" had been known, many more seats might have been sold. I, for one, had I not had a ticket already would have rushed to buy one just to see those five dancers all in one night. As I mentioned before, it was like going to a mini Gala. Just wonderful!
  22. Well, I, for one, thought it a wonderful evening!! This is one of my favorite ballets and to see the three different "casts" tonight was like seeing a mini Gala. Everyone danced as if it was the most natural night of ballet ever. Gomes splendid and ardent. Boylston expansive and powerful and especially moving when she comes back after being injured and does those little backward pointe steps that tell so much about her yearning for Aminta. Pure genius choreography. Maria also fine. Finely traced steps and her acting was also to be admired. But the real surprise was Hee Seo with Bolle. She was all cream and lush movement. Just ravishing. Bolle ever beautiful and also very "on" tonight in both his variation and his partnering. When he carried Hee in on one shoulder in Act III I knew all was right with the World. Simkin as Orion was excellent. A good role for him. Everyone danced especially well. This is such a beautiful production, with sumptuous costumes and scenery, a delicious score and some of the most extraordinary choreography out there. I have to say ABT made a delicious lemonade tonight with what might have been just lemons. I wish Gillian well in her recovery, of course. But tonight was indeed a very special night.
  23. I also just added three seats to my subscription. (this was after I'd gone through the "other process" of exchanging during exchange week). I hadn't intended to do a "triple play", but the very nice man at the Met BO said he converted it to that, so if I did change my mind and need to exchange later, I wouldn't be charged a fee or be beholding to "dynamic pricing". I thought that was very considerate of him. That said, I still think ABT needs to address their whole process of ticketing and exchanging. Making things more user friendly is always a good thing. In these days of ever dwindling audiences (see the NY Times article in regards to the Met Opera in Saturday's paper), it's always a good idea to be innovative and ahead of the game. Good luck!
  24. Odd that Fairchild doesn't seem to be his "all-American" best, given that he's just come off a year (or so) playing an "all-American" in AIP. But then performing in a musical eight shows a week doing the same thing over and over can do strange things to one's sense of performance. I know he wasn't doing some shows toward the end, but still the energy needed to do NYCB should be there. Perhaps his sense of spontaneous movement isn't there now. Doing one person's choreography again and again can be draining, especially when the movement isn't all that wonderful. For me, I didn't find the Wheeldon work in AIP to be all that inspiring. Perhaps for Fairchild to be doing more of the same in the new Wheeldon was a bit of a chore. Well, he better get used to it, as he'll be in London for another year in AIP. I can't help but wonder if musical theater isn't his "drug of choice" right now. And also wonder if he'll return to City Ballet once the London run is over. Or even return to ballet. The un-spoken truth is that in his absence from NYCB, other men have come forward to lead. Also unsaid, but also truthful is the fact that if he chooses to stay in musical theater, the competition out there could be brutal. Roles that fit a performers qualities aren't always to be had at any given time. There can be long dry spells. Staying relevant can be difficult.
  25. Jacques D'Amboise in his memoir, I Was A Dancer, says that Balanchine once said of Allegra that of all the ballerinas he ever worked with that she was "the most gifted". He kept her on salary and told her, "When you are ready to dance, come dance. If you dance one ballet a year, it's enough" D'Amboise said Balanchine couldn't always count on her, yet felt she was worth it. (page 298)
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