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2003 in Dance: Boston

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My favorite dance moment was actually being at the Wang in the middle of the theatre in a 100% sold out production of the Nutcracker. It was great!

My least favorite was Boston Ballet's Don Quixote. Two words - boring and dated. Especially DATED! I don't know if they have a marking department, but productions like Don Quixote are not exactly going to bring in a young, new audience for the ballet. And bringing the next generation into the theatre to enjoy and appreciate ballet should be a top priority for ballet companies, otherwise they will keep losing out to flashier productions like the Rockettes.

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This is my fourth year as a subscriber to the Boston Ballet, and I would describe this year as the one in which Boston Ballet was "Nissinen-ized" -- the familiar faces -- Simon Ball, April Ball, Karla Kovatch, Ilya Kozadayev -- are gone, to be replaced by Nelson Madrigal and others.

Many faces I recognized have disappeared, and I feel I must acquaint myself with an entirely different company.

I enjoyed the high energy and spirits of "Stars and Stripes" this fall, and seeing Pollyana Ribeiro in "La Fille Mal Gardee" earlier in the year.

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Thinking about this I'm surprised to realize my most and least favorite moments both involved Boston Ballet's Don Quixote. Don Q is not one of my favorite ballets but I felt it is better in the current production than past ones.

My least favorite experience involved watching my least favorite dancer featured in Don Q. My most favorite experience involved seeing Lorna Jeijoo for the first time, as Kitri. What a wonderful dancer. And then we saw her the following week in David Dawson's The Grey Area. About as different from Don Q as you can imagine, but she was wonderful in that too. I'm really looking forward to whatever she is in next.

We've been subscribers to Boston Ballet for around 30 years, and in that time have seen lots of turnover in the dancers, artistic staff, and administrative staff. There are a few dancers we saw 30 years ago who are now teaching or otherwise involved with the ballet, but on the whole the most stable part of the company has been a core of loyal audience members. I sometimes tell my friends in that group that I feel like WE are Boston Ballet, everyone else comes and goes!

While it is sad to see old favorites leave, it is interesting to see the new arrivals, and on the whole the company has been improving over the years. Several dancers who were much appreciated principals and soloists years ago have told me they would not be able to reach those levels in the current company, the dancing is so much better than when they were performing.

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I am new to the Boston Ballet audience. However, the high point was discovering (at least it was a discovery for me) Larissa Ponomarenko. She is a stunning dancer, my idea of a real prima. I have also been very impressed with the depth of the company. Low point - I guess the Wang/Rockette incident would be number one. I love the company and can't wait for the next set of performances.

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