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griffie

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Everything posted by griffie

  1. griffie

    Sarah Lane

    I'm a huge and avid fan of Sarah's dancing (her port de bras is exquisite) and her artistry; when she's "on", she's magical. I am terribly sorry she is gone from ABT. I wish she hadn't said some things in this interview because the impression may hurt, not help, her chances for future employment. Cobweb, I also wonder about that R&J offer. Sarah says she "tried" to file a formal complaint; she doesn't say she did. She says she was offered a Juliet as a final performance and then says she felt, "it's important to be honest and keep my own voice rather than keep quiet and do this performance." But she was indeed scheduled to debut her Juliet with ABT last May 28th - it was canceled, along with everything else that season. One possible explanation that comes to mind is that she took the offered deal, but didn't get to dance her Juliet, so now is presenting ABT as trying to silence her and herself as having been too principled to accept such a deal. All that might not be appealing to the management of companies thinking of hiring her. In the interview I reacted to her "respectfully" asking to not dance with her partner "ever again," as thinking that must not be the whole story. I can understand requesting not to be paired with him while injured, if it was endangering or seriously compromising her, but for forever for any reason is a big ask for an AD; let alone a temporary reason such as injury. Once AD's start allowing dancers to choose which partners they will dance with, casting would quickly become untenable. Again, that might not be appealing to the management of companies thinking of hiring her. Sarah mentions her work ethic has kept her from injury. But getting injured does not have to be a personal failing brought on by negligence. Sarah saying that the partner was "never in class" felt like something added only to give the impression this (seriously injured) partner, struggling through their rehearsals, wasn't being serious about their dancing. Whatever went wrong with her partnership with Cornejo, lack of dedication to his art is probably not the problem. Dancers nursing injuries may not want to take company class, and companies have allowed some dancers to oversee their own conditioning. Dancers with long careers have worn, older bodies and accumulated injuries and may not be best served by daily company class. Whether or not they're in company class isn't relevant to Sarah's rehearsal time; it's her judging that the injuries come from not enough work ethic. Again, if I were management of a company wanting to hire her, these comments would be a bit of a red flag. Many of her grievances are widely know to be valid, including the guest-star era holding back career development, insufficient coaching and stage rehearsal time, and of course being expected to pretend Natalie Portman did her own dancing. It's been a hard road, and I can wholeheartedly support her in speaking up about those issues!
  2. Piling on to say how much I also loved the extra detail, pantomime and story. So much mime took a bit of getting used to at first, but the story development made the ballet so much richer and fit the musical narrative so well, I am now going to miss it when I see other Giselles. Ratmansky paid a lot of attention to having the storylines make more sense and having movement match the music beautifully. I liked story details like having Loys (Albrecht) run to safety behind the cross after dancing with wili Giselle, and then being discovered there and brought to Myrtha by wilis later; in some productions it seems he wandered off for a while for no reason while Hans (Hilarion) appears and is danced to death. I also liked all the added special effects - especially Giselle rising and disappearing into her grave on a little elevator. A few were a little hokey, such as Myrta rumbling past on her arabesque scooter, and the hinged tree branch for lily-dropping, but the effects seemed so in keeping with the flavor of the period that I enjoyed them. I found the super speedy but very musical choreography for the peasant and village dances dazzling. The entire first act was engaging and full of one delight after another. I found myself feeling more sympathy for Hans/Albrecht in this version: his love was sincere and convinced me that he didn't want to be an aristocrat and marry Bathilde; it wasn't within his power to change his birth and he was trapped by fate into marrying a woman he didn't love. Hans/Hilarion was rough, even violent, persisted in pursuing Giselle even after she had told him she loved another man, and seemed motivated by spite to reveal the prince's identity. Usually he seems to have gotten an entirely raw deal but in this version I was little less upset with his death by wili. The dancing was superlative in every role, with a special compliment to the fine acting of the two leads. Artemy Belyakov was not only technically excellent, tall and princely and heartfelt, but catches the breeze with the finest male coiffure I've seen since Peter Martins. Vlashinets was a superb Myrtha, imperious, coolly controlled with every movement and possessing a beautiful effortless high jump. I personally didn't think the addition of the fugue was a completely success; the dance and patterning was lovely but it sounded as if suddenly a baroque composer had been hired on spec to fill in extra music. I agree that having Giselle sink into the earth was a lovely addition, but I would have preferred that happen nearer to her grave as that was her passageway to the underworld. It gave the impression that because the stage mechanics for the grave elevator and the sinking earth couldn't be combined into one spot, that Giselle had to sink on stage right, and thinking about the logistics of it took me out of the moment. Loved that she gave her blessing to the marriage before being covered by turf (a beautiful effect!). I also wasn't sure I liked Bathilde finding him at Giselle's grave at dawn. I wondered how she ended up there. Was this noblewoman out with search party for him all night, or was it that she couldn't sleep and wanted to visit Giselle's grave herself? I do hope there is a DVD and I would move mountains to see this production if it should be performed in the USA. Here's hoping.
  3. Faux Pas, I too wondered what Tidwell is doing these days. I did a quick google search and found he guested as Russian in the Nutcracker of Salisbury Ballet this past December in North Carolina. So he is still dancing at at least occasionally. But it does seem like he is not dancing much. Such an extraordinary talent. I remember picking him out of a corps of men at ABT as someone to watch back in the early aughts.
  4. I was at Tuesday night's program of T&V, new Tharp, and Ratmansky's Seasons. While I thought Sarah danced beautifully in T&V, and covered her slight trouble with the turns well, I can also see why a previous poster felt she might have nerves. It's very tricky choreography and I got the feeling she was concentrating intently. That meant her performance wasn't transcendent the way some of hers can be. But, her technique and grace were so lovely it was still a very good performance. I noticed that I love the way she holds her hands in fifth position in turns - her hands always continue the roundness of the arm shape, or create another pretty flourish. So many dancers flatten the raised hands at the wrists while turning - and touching fingertips - which make me think of hardboiled eggs with the tops sliced off. Gorak started off beautifully with nice control and poise and, as others have noted, later not only had trouble with his tours but wasn't able to cover up his mistake so the audience wasn't aware. I agree that this point in his career he should be able to pull that off better. However the final lift difficulty was covered up enough that my husband didn't realize there was a problem. I didn't know what the lift position was supposed to be, and it was a nice save with Sarah adopting a pretty pose, but I could see that he was struggling to hold her up until the curtain came down. It's too bad because he started off so well. I thought Skylar Brandt stood out as one of the four T&V soloists. She projects energy upward and out, all the way to the balconies, and is neat and quick. Kudos to the violin soloist. She was superb, as was the quintent in the Tharp piece. I thought parts of the Tharp ballet were good, and I wished I could have seen it without the distracting costumes. There were too many different blingy costumes and some of them were unflattering to dancers. Herman's costume, from the the third ring, looked like a cheap Halloween silver skeleton costume. I saw on Instagram that there was sequinned detail to it but that really didn't read onstage under the lights; it looked like silver bones. Two costumes I liked were Blaine Hoven's unitard dress with long black sparkly skirt (he rocked it and danced with all-out passion), and Shevchenko's floaty bell-bottomed floral jumpsuit. I also felt there was a storyline for the ballet that all the dancers knew but wasn't clear to the audience, maybe designed to make the dance richer; sort of the way that Method actors will develop a whole backstory to a character in a play to give more depth to their interpretation of their lines. But if the story is too opaque, this unclear story can leave the audience feeling like they don't understand what's going on, and I was a little confused. Herman's dancing was, of course, sublime. Cate Hurlin was very fine - I can see why she is moving up the ladder. The Seasons. I absolutely loved Winter, enjoyed Spring, and started losing enthusiasm around Summer but regained it for Autumn. Winter was witty, beautifully costumed, and gorgeously danced by all - Aran Bell, Katherine Williams, Devon Teuscher Catherin Hurlin and Luciana Paris. Easily my favorite part of the evening. Spring was very nice - James Whiteside, Zimmi Coker and Skylar Brandt were terrific. Summer went on way too long, I thought. The youngsters who were dancing the Poppies were charming at first but then had far too much stage time - they were great on pointe for their age but simply aren't as good dancers as the company members. The costuming of the different groups in Summer all seemed to clash with each other when onstage together. But the Cornflowers' blue/purple knit dresses were gorgeous. Isabella Boylston isn't my cup of tea. Her legs and feet are spectacular but her port de bras tends toward a very bent wrist which breaks the line and her hands and fingers are often held distractingly wide and flat. Blaine Hoven was in wonderful character as a feisty Faun. Of all the (non-Herman) dancers I thought the night belonged to Hoven. The final season, Autumn with Cassandra Trenary and Calvin Royal III, wasn't very memorable choreography but gave me a chance to again appreciate Trenary's clean finish. Especially in more difficult choreography, she has a way of creating clear images in the steps that puts me in mind of some of the best NYCB dancers. All in all, a nice night with some fine dancing, but I wasn't given the high that I get from the best ABT performances.
  5. My apologies, Vipa, my enthusiasm made me careless. Megan LeCrone was in the fourth variation of 4T. Erica Pereira was the female lead in Square Dance and she danced competently.
  6. I saw Tuesday’s cast for the same program. Agree that Indiana Woodward was the star of the night for me. She breezed through the third movement with exceptional precision for the speed, neat footwork, tight fifths and great stage presence. She shone alongside Brouder and Reichlin. Lauren King in the fourth movement had particularly lovely carriage and port de bras. Shoutout to Megan LeCrone who sparkled in Square Dance. The company is already top-heavy with principals but Woodward and LeCrone seem clearly in line for promotion. And Taylor Stanley is the Total Package, in spades. He The audience members seated near me were in raptures about him after Square Dance. NYCB’s depth of talent is a delight.
  7. I too am thrilled to see dancers being promoted, and I really like Hammoudi; I think he has good stage presence. I'd vaguely thought he was a soloist already. I think he has great potential for becoming principal. And as much as my heart breaks for those soloists being passed over, I can see why Seo was chosen; there's something really distinctive about her lyrical qualities. Though I didn't see her R&J, I've heard that that it was marvelous - and, that she received long and extensive coaching for the role that she didn't have for her Giselle. Given time and coaching her Giselle may grow to be as great. With my preference for dancers I can always pick out of the lineup for their unique style, I'm going to cast my vote for Simone Messmer to make principal someday. I agree Boylston is probably next, and she's strong and versatile, but I'd rather watch Simone and wish she got more opportunities. And pray for Sarah Lane to be able to make the leap to the next level; when she's on, she can bring down the house, but I've also seen her falter. If she can develop real chemistry with Cornejo she'd be the clear fallback choice for whenever Xiomara isn't available. I wish them luck!
  8. Herman has been extraordinary since Day 1. He is great, great, great, and needs no one else to inspire his stellar performances. Angelica, I completely agree with you that Cornejo needs no one to inspire his performances, I didn't mean it that way. But having seen him so many times over the years I have seen performances of his that were finer than others, and yesterday he was on fire. I was only imagining that even the best of the best can find that working alongside another extraordinary talent can be stimulating. I don't know that to be the case - but regardless, the presence of two such performances in one show was a treasure. I myself feel that Marcelo and Herman ought to be huge international superstars. I find them superior to every big name danseur brought in to headline. I have to remind myself that it's their dedication to their art and willingness to stay the grinding course year after year with the same company that's part of why they appeal so much; to me their personalities come across on stage as much as their technique, and I adore them. I hope that they are in as many recordings as possible because their legacies will have them appreciated for all they deserve.
  9. Herman was amazing this afternoon as the slave trader. Flair, character, astounding jumps, simply spectacular. What a star. He had to take two bows after his solo before the show could go on. Veronika did a lovely job the whole way through, technically secure, and I agree she did beautifully on the long fouette sequence. I'd not seen Vasiliev before, but in his brief seconds of introduction in the first act I thought he he had more charisma than Cory Stearns did the entire performance. I'm not sure why this is, Cory is tall, handsome, nice long legs and feet and dances well enough, but to me he is always a little bland. I've seen him a few times now and still don't get why he came up the ranks so quickly; I've heard it suggested his height probably was factor for the taller ballerinas, and he is pretty good. But when he was dancing alongside Veronika Part and Ivan Vasiliev it looked like they were in another league from him altogether. He may yet grow into a stronger stage presence - he's still young. Also there was a sequence of lifts where Veronika twisted from a backbend into a penchee sort of thing in the lift, repeated three times, and every time Cory looked awkward. I'm not sure what the trouble was there, but Vasiliev who is not nearly as big as Cory made the partnering look effortless. I felt Veronika responded to Ivan and their pas de deux was off-the-charts with energy. The three odalisques were Shevchenko, Hamricke and Boone, nicely done. Is Shevchenko the smaller one with the very pointed feet? If that'sthe right one both she and Melanie Hamricke had wonderful but distinctly different-looking traveling brises in their solos. Schevchenko covered huge distance across the stage while Hamricke had gorgeously crossed beats. I like Hamricke's clarity and attack. Riccetto was likeable as Gulnare; she's a solid dancer and I think she shines in roles where she gets to act a bit, as here. And Vasiliev's athletic abilities were awe-inspiring. In his harem pants I couldn't see his line all that well so if he lacks at all there, it wasn't visible and his jumps were crazy. He also had charisma to burn and a certain Nureyev-like animal magnetism. Great stuff and the crowd loved him. I couldn't help but wonder if Cornejo's exceptional performance earlier on was spurred on by Vasiliev's bravura; if he felt inspired by the competition we all benefited! The little, very little, dancers in the dream sequence were adorable. None of them looked any older than 6 and not only did they do their jobs well but they melted hearts all over the house. AAwwwwwww.
  10. Hi, a few comments on last night's (Feb. 8) performance: three spectacular ballets and one Seven Deadly Sins. Sins was somehow a miss on multiple levels: staging, choreography, costuming and even singing. Patti Lupone was overamplified or something; her voice was muddied and sometimes it was hard to make out her words. Lupone always enunciates in her singing - sometimes to the point of distraction - so I suspect it was not her fault. Wendy Whelan as Anna did a good job with not much to work with. Weill and Bracht's music isn't the most accessible to begin with and piece on the whole was less than engaging. Concerto Barocco, with Reichlen and Mearns, was exquisite. Flawlessly performed and just transcending. Balanchine for me can be like Shakespeare or the Beatles; everyone's always talking about what geniuses they were, and then when you come face to face with one of their best works you're hit over the head and stunned that they really are that good. Tiler Peck and Daniel Ulbricht were spectular in Tarantella. Both of them danced at the level where they made it look easy, and tons of charm and humor. I felt they were having more fun than I was. And, as they say, the crowd went wild. That one's going in my mental shortlist of favorite performances. Vienna Waltzes was a lovely way to cap off the evening, such wonderfully dancey music and lovely visual effects, especially the ending dance of swirling pure white dresses and black dress uniforms. I can't figure out what's going on with pricing and seating: I got there a half hour before curtain and asked for the cheapest seat ($31, Fifth Ring). From there I was perplexed to see that the fourth ring was open, had ushers for all aisles, and less than a dozen people sitting there. The rest of the house was pretty well populated. Does anyone know what that's about?
  11. I attended last night and thoroughly enjoyed the whole show, even the Cunningham which isn't really to my taste. The level of the dancing was fantastic - in one evening I saw 8 out of the nine principals (Hallberg being in Russia). I LOVED Seven Sonatas. I thought it inventive, witty, beautiful and musical. Cornejo was indeed in great form, and when he's on, somehow the other men alongside him - no matter how accomplished - seem slightly stiff in comparison. I tend to forget just how good Xiomara Reyes is sometimes, because she flies a bit under the radar and never seems to get the publicity or fan devotion most of the other principals do. She was terrific in Seven Sonatas, really fluid. Julie Kent kept up with her well. I thought that Yuriko, though still fine, was noticeably the soloist in with two experienced principals. She may get there yet and I'm glad she's being given the chance to grow. I do always enjoy her dancing. Yuriko also was dancing with the NYCB paddle hands, where the fingers are splayed wide instead of gracefully arranged. Most likely that doesn't bother anyone but me, but I think the look isn't appealing. I find myself noticing the flat hands anew every time I attend a NYCB performance & thought maybe I'm just getting testy. But I recently watched the Dance in America recording with Merrill Ashley and Suzanne Farrell, and that hand styling really wasn't in evidence back then. Paloma and Veronika looked amazing in the Cunningham number, and comfortable in the choreography. However, I didn't truly see all of Part's efforts. The women weren't on pointe and I'd never seen Part's feet out of toeshoes before. I was so mesmerized by her gorgeous, articulated feet I'm ashamed to say I missed much of her dancing because I was just watching her roll her toes into a point. Beautiful. Completely agree with Marga that Maria Ricetto has improved tremendously. She flew through the Tharp duet with the ease that comes from technical security. She had plenty of sparkle and looked absolutely ballerina-perfect in the lovely and simple shimmering gray costume. I'd been neutral on her early on, but started coming around in the last couple of years as she stood out in smaller roles. I think her star will continue to rise. I wish I'd been able to see Black Tuesday better. Most of the numbers, and especially the two big solos were performed with the stage covered in a high-contrast shade-and-light pattern that along with the mottled dark costuming made it really difficult to distinguish the dancers from the floor. Near as I could tell from the balcony, Misty Copeland ("Broken Dreams") and Simkin ("Spare a Dime") looked great. My husband, who sees ballet only about once a year, happened to have only caught Cornejo on a couple of nights before this and both times they were off nights for Herman. Last night, though, Grif was blown away by Herman's charisma and famous leaps. I always appreciate Grif's feedback on dancers, because on the whole he is little concerned with technique and responds to other qualities. He noticed and liked Veronika Part in Duets, saying she had "weight and presence" Not, of course, meaning weight in physique, but in her seeming actually material. He also thought Marcelo was a little over the top in the Junk duet, a touch hammy. I answered that I thought Tharp's humorous dances fall pretty flat if they're played safe and I thought Gomez' comedy work was brilliant. (But it could be just that I'm unable to see Marcelo, a dance god, as anything less than perfect. Ever.) But I'm pretty hard on dance humor anyway, because it's so often performed by dancers with little comedy talent. I'm still getting over seeing the pratfalls in Taylor's "From Soup to Nuts" years ago. I cringed all the way through it and I've yet to find a dance critic who doesn't think it's a riotous piece of whimsy.
  12. Thanks for the detailed writeup, FauxPas. I attended Tuesday night as well and thought it a splendid evening of dance. I know that a steady diet of such pretty dancing, pretty costumes and pretty music would get tiresome quickly, but I sure do enjoy an occasional night of it! Birthday Offering was delightful choreography. So many changes of direction and interesting body tilts. I also had the program insert that Simone Messmer replaced Kuriko, and am glad of that. Her performance was the most outstanding to me in a stellar group - she sailed through the trickiest steps with exceptional clarity. I had not seen Simone before and quickly decided I was a big fan. From my side view I thought Sarah Lane struggled a bit with the footwork on her variation (including her ankle giving out on the first of some hops in arabesque) but she carried it off well - none of that was visible in her upper body. The ensemble work looked very tight and neat. I also finally got so see Veronika Part dance, and understand now why she is so controversial. She really is a horse of a different color. I've read adjectives like "lush" and "womanly" and wondered how someone who fits today's weight standards could still be deserving of those descriptions. She is, though. Her shoulders are clearly broader than the other women in Birthday Offering, but it's more than the physical; she also dances like a gracious, full-grown woman. If your ballerina ideal is more on the wraithy side, Part probably isn't going to please your aesthetic. But I loved her. Dream was so perfectly cast, and performed at such a high level, I thought it couldn't be bettered. Herman has made his character even more fairy fey than when I last saw it some years ago, and his elevation and control were indeed astounding. I don't get out much these days (I have two small girls and not much money) but I'd go a dozen times a season if I could, so please keep the detailed reviews coming - it's really the next best thing to being there. I read Ballet Talk reviews faithfully and truly appreciate all of you who post!
  13. I saw Friday's show, with Simkin/Dvorovenko in Prodigal. This was my first time seeing Daniil Simkin, and he was terrific - heartfelt and convincing acting alongside bravura technique. His extremely secure partnering of Irina in the tricky pas de deux was even more remarkable considering how (I hadn't realized quite how) slight of frame he is. Dvorovenko was flawless, her Siren being compelling, sexy and downright evil. She also seemed completely at ease maneuvering all those yards of fabric. Desir suffered from the changed program placement. Coming after a Balanchine masterwork highlights its minorness. I enjoyed several bits of the choreography, more than I had expected, but the piece as a whole seemed to be trying too hard to impress. There were also a couple of odd places where the dancers walked in patterns and looked as if they were just milling around. The quality of the dancing was so high, though, I did really enjoy it. Xiomara Reyes and Roman Zhurbin were outstanding in the final pdd. Despite the speed of the steps Xiomara managed to seem entirely relaxed and fluid. Yuriko Kajiya, who danced the second couple with Craig Salstein, also has that beautiful flow through her neck and shoulders that Xiomara has. In contrast, in the third couple, Maria Riccetto seemed a little tense in her carriage. This was not the first time I've thought that about Riccetto - she is a fine dancer, but I agree with poster Vipa, she's not my cup of tea. Riccetto danced with Jared Matthews who did very well himself. I was sitting in balcony box, so my comments on Dnieper are based on a fairly high-up view. I had to really focus to see Carreno's Sergei as his muted-green military costume was no brighter than the soft black of the dance floor. It was definitely a staging and/or costuming error that should be fixed. Poster "4rmrdncr" suggested a fill-in light for him, and that might help, or brighter shade of green cloth. Hee Seo was lovely as Natalia, so light and free. Yet there was such a contrast between her innocent young maiden and Vishneva's riper Olga that it was easy to see how the returned Sergei would be more attracted to Olga. He must have known Olga before he left, but he returned a different man after his military experiences and finds charismatic Olga more his speed now than his sweet fiance is. Vishneva is the dancer to whom all eyes go onstage - she's just a star. Yet Hee Seo did indeed hold her own against Vishneva, both in technique and acting, which is not an easy feat. I'd say Seo is more than fulfilling the expectations of company management (who are patting themselves on the back for spotting her promise). Hammoudi as Oleg's fiance danced especially well and crisply in his fast variation. I believe his star is rising too, and I hope to see him featured in leading roles soon. As to the crowded staging (the cherry trees, fences, and prop villagers), I ended up admiring it. I'm not used to having so much stuff around the dancers downstage but the reimaginings of the space were creative and effective (suggesting yards, a country road, a town square). Maybe a couple fewer trees in front would be better and a lot fewer fallen petals on the ground. All the scattered petals made the floor a busy and distracting background for the dancing. From the orchestra seats I don't expect that the floorful of blossoms much affected how well you could see the dancers, but from up above, in that dim lighting, it really did. I couldn't fully appreciate the choreography when all the dancers were hard to see clearly. Ratmansky's choreography is indeed excellent: he designed great solos and pas de deux, but he also demonstrated good pacing of the story, superb movement of groups, and complex responses to the currents of the music. I thought Dnieper deserves to be seen more easily (fewer blossoms, more light) and more than once.
  14. Alistair Macaulay's NYT review for Monday's Prokofiev program is now up: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/arts/dan....html?ref=dance It was interesting to me that so many of his points were already covered by various ballettalk posters! Thanks to everyone who has posted such great reviews: I'm still trying to decide on cast for Prodigal, between Cornejo/Wiles or Simkin/Irina - would love to hear feedback on the Simkin/Irina Wed. evening performance. I'd think Wiles would be cast a bit against seductress type, but I would love to see Cornejo in this role even if theirs is not an ideal pairing. General consensus seemed to be that he would have settled in more with Wiles by Saturday when I'd go.
  15. Inaugural posting here; I don't get out very often in recent years. I saw Thursday's slate and thought I'd share a few comments - I'm someone who hasn't had the luxury of seeing these dancers often enough to be really familiar with their abilities, so please take my notes with that caveat in mind. "Leaves" was lovely, very subtle as Tudor often is, beautifully danced. As a complete work I think it has a certain lack of pacing. But it's the prettiest dancing floral wallpaper you'll ever see. I do happen to be a big fan of Xiomara's dancing but as has often happened, I was a bit distracted by seeing too much of her broad smile. She still tends toward mugging a bit which is fine sometimes and other times is inappropriate for the role. But she had a nice lightness and fluid upper back. I'm guessing it was Yuriko Kajiya who was the standout to me in an early pas de deux in Leaves - I'm deducing her name from her being the only Asian dancer name listed. She had particularly lovely port de bras. I didn't realize until later that the blonde was Michele Wiles; I'd seen her this summer as Myrtha in Giselle, where she'd had a commanding stage presence, and here she blended into the ensemble. If Roman Zhurbin is the one who somewhat resembled Gennady and partnered in an early pas de deux, he was exceptionally strong - can anyone confirm that was him? "Overgrown Path" was an embarrassment of riches. Part, Murphy, Kent and Herrera all dancing together? Usually when you see any one of them, they'll stand out as a cut above the featured soloistes of the evening. Each of them has the ability to draw your eye away from the others. Put them all together and I had trouble knowing where to look. That said, to me Murphy was the star. She is a true dance-actress and I envy those who will get to see her Pillar of Fire. Followed by Kent, who's still got it in spades; then by Part. Veronika's feet were so incredible I had to make a conscious effort to watch the rest of her as well. Herrera was technically gorgeous, but to my eyes had less stage presence than the others. The others were also superb and the ensemble work was cohesive. I also really enjoyed the choreography. I felt it was intensely connected to the music in a way that not all the Kylian pieces I have seen are. I liked the vocabulary, the patterns and the motifs. I also liked the tailored dress costumes, though the men's costuming of of dark pants and white shirts was undistinguished. Agreed with the previous poster who complimented David LaMarche's piano playing. Exquisite, and the piano itself sounded incredible. My husband and I agreed this was our favorite piece of the evening. I hadn't seen Theme and Variations in many years and when last seen it was NYCB. When the curtain rose I heard a mix of applause and chuckles - the effect of that much pink, purple, bows, crowns and sparkle was pretty over-the-top. With the fake chandeliers it looked a bit like a little girl's Barbie fantasy toy theater. City Center's stage was a bit small for so many dancers with such wide tutus. Sarah Lane displayed extremely secure technique, especially on those entwined balances, and she does look the right size for Herman, but coming right after the bevy of internationally renowned ballerinas in Overgrown Path I felt she suffered by comparison - a bit careful. Considering that Sarah Lane is new to the big leagues, I'm more than happy to see how she develops. Herman Cornejo is always a dancer I look forward to, yet I didn't feel he seemed to have his usual brio this time. If someone were to tell me he was dancing with an illness last night, I wouldn't have been surprised to hear it. Someone upthread hinted he has had recent injuries; yet what I saw seemed to me to be more an off night for energy, less than for injury. Either way, hope he is back in finest form soon. After his astounding Albrecht in Giselle this summer, he became in my eyes the finest danseur of his generation (- to each their own)!
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