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Who's Your Home Town MVP?


Alexandra
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At SFB, it's probably Damian Smith -- he's not only a great dancer imself, he's the cause of great dancing in others. "Great partner" doesn;t begin to indicate how musical he is, how attentive he is.. And he always really GETS the ballet -- his whole way of moving can change, depending on hte tone, style, quality that's called for. And he has a huge emotional range -- he can be really funny (he nearly stole the show as Camacho in Don Q), he can be ferocious, lyrical, cruel, generous, radiant, bitter, classical, modern....

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For Cincinnati Ballet, especially during Nutcracker Season, it's Valentine Liberatore, who wore many, many hats (and shoes). He served (admirably) as children's rehearsal coach, is the most wonderful Herr Drosselmeier or a scary-silly mouse king. He toured w/the Company when they took Nut to Anchorage and to Detroit, MI, serving as kid's director in these cities (where he had to take it on faith that their home studio was preparing them for their roles). As a character dancer, his pantomime skills are surpurb, and his enthusiasm for the children and their part in Nut was genuine and gratifying. Looking forward to see him in Princess and the Pea...as a not-so-lovely lady!

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Paris big ballet star is, in most opinions, Marie-Agnès Gillot. She's 28 years old and she still doesn't have the title of "etoile". Nobody can understand it. Just to give an example, during the traditional Paris Opera Ballet parade (known as "defile"), she is the feminine artist who is the most applauded, even more than etoiles.

The male dancer the most applauded is usually Nicolas le Riche, who is a great ballet star, currently at his top.

But I must confess, my favorites are Agnes Letestu and Jose Martinez :wub: .

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In Seattle, I would say Nicholas Ade (Pacific Northwest Ballet). He invests all of his roles, mostly corps roles, with energy and commitment, and he's even drawn my eye away from Paul Gibson :wub: I was privileged to see him perform the lead in Dumas' Scripted in the Body, a speaking/dancing role, this past March.

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Iliana Lopez and her husband Franklin Gamero, are Miami City Ballet's MVPs by a landslide. They have been with the company since a year after it's birth, and have been the glue that holds it all together. I don't know what will happen when they retire next season :wub: . Their last performance of Sugarplum and Cavalier was Sunday afternoon. She broke into tears during bows, and so did everyone else, It was absolutely touching, and beautiful. However, Iliana taking over as Ballet Mistress will be a wonderful new direction for her and the company.

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I'm afraid that I also will nominate my nominee from '02: Marcelo Gomes. Versatile, always "there", always giving -- to his partner, his choreographer, his audience, always terrific. And for the women, Wendy Whelan, for pretty much the same reasons. I hope Wendy recovers soon enough to qualify for a "three-peat."

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It's a tie between Mireille Hassenboehler and Sara Webb for Houston Ballet. I have yet to see something I don't enjoy seeing Hassenboehler in (even made "Garden of Mirth" somewhat watchable), and Webb becomes more and more charming each time I see her perform. Webb continues to grow into her roles, and I can't wait to see her in La Fille.

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I have to second Carbro’s nomination of Marcelo Gomes - he seemed to partner almost all of ABT’s ballerina’s this past year and he made all of them better with his solid presence (especially Herrera). My list would also include Amanka McKerrow for hanging in there! She dances so rarely these days, I remember an exquisite “Leaves are Fading” pas de deux with John Gardner at the Met, and her Hagar was wonderful.

I only saw one performance of NYCB this year (ok, in the last 10 years!!), but what I saw was Swan Lake with Whelan and Woetzel. Didn’t care for the production, but I thought Whelan’s performance was beautiful.

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Wishing Wendy Whelan a full recovery. Those boots don't work. You have to keep the weight off with crutches until its fully healed. If your toe turns in its very hard to correct. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Happy New Year.

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