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ABT Opening Night

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Quick thoughts....

La Bayadere: Waltz & Pas D'Action

Stiefel & Dvorovenko...nice, and looked appropriate for the full Met Stage

The Leaves Are Fading PdD

McKerrow & Gardner-I love this pdd, but it was an odd excerpt and looked very out of place on that large stage. Lovely though...

Esmeralda PdD

Herrera missed the first tambourine tap with her toe, and was technically fine, but not the most exciting of performances. Gomes is a wonderful dancer, but this was not the best display of his talents. Still cheating the rotations in his tours.

Hereafter (preview from new piece by Stanton Welch). Very short, and I thought they would have been much better off using Corella in a traditional pdd. This was not long enough to get much sense of the piece.

Diana & Acteon pdd

Murphy and Carreno got the audience going. Huge high jumps from him and those incredible multiple pirouettes from her. As good as it gets!

Don Quixot-Act III Pas de Deux a Quatre

Hysterical pas de quatre with three ballerinas (Tuttle, Anaiashvili, Reyes) and Julio Bocca. The ballerinas keep appearing to the frustration and amusement of the guy. At one point he peeks out of the wings to make sure he actually has the stage to himself. When he finally starts the bravura solo, Ananiashvili appears and does part of his solo. Bocca was incredible-I think he did 6 or 7 (8?) consecutive double tour-pirouettes without stopping. In the end the "tortured" danseur runs off stage and returns to stab himself with the fan. Delightfully wicked comedy, with great dancing!

Swan Lake waltz...nice, but nothing special. Belotserkovky moves like velvet though-beautiful to watch with his long, stretched limbs.

The evening ended with a nice performance of the Harrison Tribute. I espeically like the finale with the various poses.

No Ferri or Malakhov. Graffin was in tghe audience, but did not dance. Hallberg was listed, but did not dance-no injury, just resting and it is anticipated that he will be dancing in other performances as scheduled.


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Sneds, I agree with you on the HereAfter solo for Corella, it was much too short to get a sense of what the ballet was like and Angel's fans would have been better served with a more conventional pas de deux or solo. As for the choreography of the solo, it would have made Spartacus proud. Lots of jumping, turns, a few rolls on the floor and several Christ-like reaching poses.

As a gala, it was a little ho-hum. It was great to see Dvorovenko at full strength. She was glittering in the La Bayadere pas d'action. Her high extentions were in full display during the Italian fouttees. She made Stiefel look like an extra, but he and Corella had the Harrison ballet at the end of the program to get their shinning moments.

The Leaves Are Fading pas de deux continued my Tudor tutorial of the week. I wish they would do the full ballet again.

I had a more positive view of Gomes in Esmeralda. He was very smooth in his solos and partnered Herrera in his usual gallant manner. Yes, he cheats a little on his tours, but they are consistent and flowing. His jump had loft with ease. I didn't see that Herrera missed any taps on the tamborine and she even showed some nice musicality.

Regarding Diana&Acteon, I thought both Murphy and Carreno performed extremely well but a little something was missing when they danced together. It's probably not fair to judge as it was only the adagio and coda. He always really reacts to his ballerina and sparks off that raport, while she is much cooler. Still, both had the audience in the usual frenzy, with Murphy continuing the trend of the evening with very strong fouttees.

I have mixed feelings about Don Q pas de deux a quatre. I guess it is all right during a gala but sometimes ABT performs with too much of a wink and a giggle. All four performed their parts technically well and with comic timing.

After the laughs, the Swan Lake Waltz started slowly and, as Sneds wrote, was really nothing much. Belotserkovsky did what little was expected of him well. The last few times I've seen him, he has a looked a little shaky in his turns, but had no such problem Monday night.

The Harrison ballet is what it is. I don't have as much problem with it as some people. And it afforded me the only look of the evening of Veronika Part, who is looking in better shape than she did last fall.

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Thank you Sneds and Dale.

Although Angel Corella's solo was a bit short - 4 minutes to be exact - it was very exciting and gave us just a hint of what's to expect - Corella was displayed a wonderful and intense power and energy and certainly had a "Spartacus" quality. I can't wait to see the entire piece in "HereAfter". With a totally different feel and carriage, Corella was equally stunning and very sexy in the opening solo of The Harrison Tribute The true highlight of the evening for me was Amanda McKerron and John Gardner in the Leaves are Fading adagio. Again, only a short piece but nevertheless, gorgeous and lyrical as only Amanda can be!!!

All the dancers looked good and energic and ready for a great season. Let's hope it's a healthy one for all.

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Let's see.


Years ago, when ABT first did Makarova's staging of Bayadere, a dance-critic friend of mine said that Cynthia Gregory was born to dance Gamzatti, but I realize now that's only because we didn't know we'd be gifted with Dvorovenko in a mere couple of decades. Nobody does the Queen of the Ball better, and she makes it very clear that the pas d'Action is "All About Me." Loved it. Stiefel didn't have much to do except partner her and look adoring, but he did get in a few nice jumps. Where are the dead parrots?

The Leaves are Fading:

For a woman who "retired" three or so years ago, McKerrow looks pretty darn good, and this expressive, swoopy stuff let her show off her expressive swoopiness without calling on her to perform anything truly difficult technically. Gardner's muscle also helped. As gorgeous as the Tudor is, I don't think it works as an excerpt, although I like it better than the usually inevitable bedroom pas from Manon (of which we were spared this time around).

Esmeralda pdd:

I remember a couple of years ago getting all excited seeing that Ananiashvili and Bocca were doing to do the Esmeralda pas with ABT, only to discover that they were doing a version by Ben Stevenson. Ugh. This was the real thing, or as close to it as one gets these days. I like Herrera best in these sorts of things, where she can flash those killer legs of hers, smile at the audience and whip off some killer turns, for the most part on the music.

I rather liked Gomes' solos. He's a tall guy with a big, booming jump, framed by soft, pantherish landings. Loved seeing him show off his line while streching out those big, big sisonne's. I've watched for Gomes' alleged "cheating" on double tours ever since Aubri first mentioned it in these forums in a description of Gomes' solo in the Sylvia pas during ABT's City Center run last fall; yes, he does "cheat" some, but so what? Everybody cheats, and given that Gomes is a dancer who "gives good weight" in so many other ways (I find his modest stage demeanor refreshing in this age of over-salesmanship), I'm willing to cut him some slack. Lots of slack. A recent trip through my video library showed me the great Soloviev "cheating" on some mammoth sisonnes en tournant in Grand Pas Classique. Let me burn the cassette!


Oh, what a novel idea to choreograph something to Carmina Burana! I wish I'd thought of it. I never realized Corella could jump so high, or grow such a scraggle beard. But why the beard? Perhaps those who will actually SEE Hereafter might share. Or not.

Diana and Acteon:

Carreno is rather stupendous here; it almost seems irrelevant who he's dancing with. Or if he dances at all. He could just stand there in that loincloth thingie and let us admire his magnificence. It's almost a bonus that he can actually move (like a god). (I'd say he's unmatched here, except I do have a fondness for Faroukh Ruzimatov's version, where his leapoard-skin undies and kohl-blackened eyes make him look like the illegitimate love-child of Tarzan and Cleopatra.) I just loved the way he'd reach into his bag of audience-pleasing tricks, especially his "ever-slowing-pirouette." And those mammoth barrel turns!

Although one might imagine that someday Murphy might know how to enticingly contrast her rather icy demeanor with Carreno's fire, here she just looked a bit uncomfortable, both with Carreno and on her own. Goddesses don't look uncomfortable, do they? I missed Diana's bow and crescent-moon tiara, but I guess times are hard these days.

Don Q pdd 2 a 4:

I am shocked, shocked that ABT would present us with such an unruly, disrespectful mess. Please, someone get Julio Bocca to a barber -- even Philip Neal's. Oh, the pddaq was pretty silly, too, although I did laugh a few times. More than a few. Bocca was delightfully harried as the cavalier with more ballerinas to partner than hands (I loved the way they stole the show from his turns a la seconde by zipping out of the wings to encircle him with pique turns). Reyes (why IS she a principal?), Tuttle (Broadway's loss is ABT's loss, it seems) and Ananiashvili (damn, can she turn) all looked like they were having fun pulling this old chestnut out of the fire.

Swan Lake Waltz:

Very pretty, although I can only take a bit of McKenzie's flirty, slutty peasant girl hitting on Siegfried. Belotserkovsky once again showed off his legs to die for, scissoring them wide in the many jetes en attitude. Perhaps not the most rousing conclusion to this gala, but it worked for me.

I saw the Harrison thing last year, so no need to see it again. Or once, even.

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sigh.....it's not a vision.

It's well-documented on video....at Covent Garden, no less, among other venues, as well. The eye makeup is rather horrifying, although the performance is interesting. Lezhnina does Diana and is lovely. With tiara and bow, and six attendants.;)

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