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Sleeping Beauty

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I just received Pacific Northwest Ballet's newsletter, announcing that Principal Dancer Patricia Barker will make guest appearances in The Sleeping Beauty on 5-6 May (tonight and tomorrow), dancing the role of the Lilac Fairy.

Other major role casting (as of now) is:

5 May

Aurora: Lorna Feijoo

Desire: Nelson Madrigal

Carabosse: Jennifer Glaze

6 May

Aurora: Larissa Ponomorenko

Desire: Roman Rykine

Carabosse: Viktor Plotnikov

Full cast list for the two performances is posted to the Boston Ballet site at:


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I saw opening night with Lorna and Nelson. I have to say that Lorna did the best Rose Adagio I have ever seen. It was amazing. Someone in the audience commented that it was as though she could have "read a newspaper during her balances." The whole performance was very good. I also saw Romi do her debut, and she was wonderful - a little shaky, but a very commendable performance. Highlights for me - costumes and scenery were amazing, choreography as a whole was great, the first cast fairy variations (opening night), Melanie Atkins as Lilac Fairy on Saturday afternoon, my own daughter as the White Cat on opening night and Saturday night, Ben Griffith as Bluebird on Saturday afternoon, Jennifer Glaze as Carabosse and Lorna and Nelson as Aurora and the Prince. I am going back this weekend, hopefully to see Larissa this time. I am quite sure she makes a beautiful Aurora, maybe not quite as strong as Lorna, but beautiful nonetheless.

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my own daughter as the White Cat on opening night and Saturday night

That's lovely. Did she get a lot of laughs? Does she wear a mask in this production, or does she get to show her face?

You probably know Tchaikovsky hand-picked the original White Cat, Maria Anderson, after having spotted her in another ballet. So he must have had special feelings for this episode.

Maria Anderson later wrote a memoir, and the bit about Tchaikovsky and Petipa discussing Beauty on the stage of the Mariinsky during rehearsals and asking her to step closer so as to be introduced to the composer - just imagine! - is translated in R.J. Wiley's Tchaikovsky's Ballets, p.158-159.

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We saw the Saturday evening performance, and were blown away by the beauty of the production and the dancing, especially Lorna. Mom - I wonder if you sit in Orch Left close to the front? We do and the people behind us seemed to know the Cat. We enjoyed her in the role!

We are also going back this coming Saturday night, and as much as we enjoyed Lorna are hoping for a different cast.

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Kelley Potter danced The Cat at the Sat. matinee and did get a lot of laughs.

Puss N' Boots, the White Cat, the Wolf and the Beast all wear masks in this production.

We were sorry not to see Pollyana Ribeiro as Princess Florine. How did she do?

Also, the peasant dance with garlands was performed by company dancers in this production. Isn't this generally performed by children?

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bbfan - Believe it or not, I bought a ticket at the box and sat in the artistic staff's row - Row P. I got two of those this weekend. We'll be there this Saturday evening also. I'll have my daughter's two brothers in tow - they look just like her, so you probably won't miss us. Herman - she did get a lot of laughs. Thanks for the historical info. I'll pass that on. It's such a sweet part, and my daughter has always wanted to dance it. She was lucky enough to dance it with her very best friend, James Whiteside. fendrock - Pollyana was a beautiful Princess Florine. She is such a seasoned performer. I am sorry that she is not doing Aurora this time around, as I think I would have enjoyed her in that role. It really is a beautiful performance and the reviews have been very positive. I heard some long-time Boston ballet-goers commenting that it was their favorite Beauty ever done by the company. I can't comment on that, but I did love this production.

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Also, the peasant dance with garlands was performed by company dancers in this production. Isn't this generally performed by children?

It was choreographed for company dancers and children. Many companies, especially those without schools of their own, omit the children entirely.

I think the inclusion of children in this ballet is especially appropriate and sweet, given that it's about hope and the future. (They wouldn't be right in Swan Lake, for the opposite reason.) And the sight of a full company joined by students from the school at all levels -- the youngest kids as pages and garland dancers, older children as supers and ensemble-swellers -- emphasizes the continuity of the classical tradition. I love it.

Were there any children in this production?

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There was quite a listing of Boston Ballet school students in the program, but the only obvious use of them was as pages (carrying the train and the pillows for the fairies).

I think I may have recognized one of the older students as a (non-dancing) lady-in-waiting in the wedding scene.

Does anyone else have the impression that Pollyana Ribeiro is dancing less these days than before Nissenen's arrival?

She's one of my favorites, and I'm worried that she won't get to do enough dancing and will leave.

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Pollyana is leaving. There was a brief blurb in the Globe today that mentioned that. I suppose that is one reason she received flowers after her performance as Princess Florine last Saturday night. I've enjoyed her also....

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Sorry I didn't post a link, but it was just a few sentences in the "names" column, and today I can't access yesterday's. I have a print copy. It says Nissinen is keeping Boston Ballet's roster mostly intact. One principal, Pollyana Ribeiro who joined in 1992 will leave. Company gave no details. Balletomanes say it speaks to BB's strengths with new principals from within - Romi Beppu and Karine Seneca are being promoted from soloist to principal. I've paraphrased but this is probably copyright Boston Globe etc.

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Since Karine Seneca joined as a soloist in 2004, I wouldn't exactly call this "promotion through the ranks."

Nor do I see much evidence of it elsewhere -- Nissenen has had a number of new dancers join as principals (Lorna Feijoo, Roman Rykine, Nelson Madrigal, Reyneris Reyes) or soloists (Melanie Atkins, Mindaugas Bauzys, Sacha Wakelin).

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I know this is off the present topic of promotions, but I was just curious to what all of the Boston Ballet goers thought about having Patricia Barker guest as "Lilac Fairy"? Obviously the company is large enough and talented enough?(I would guess) I know guest artist can be good, but this was such a last minute thing, why not have someone from within company step up and get a chance at the part? Wouldn't that be better overall for the company? These are just somethings I thought about when reading all of this. It sounds like it was a great producition.

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Danseur, I don't know how feasible it would have been to use a company member, but you are right, it would have been nice and would have shown the kind of "can do" attitude that would make us here in Boston proud of our local company and its own talent.

Actually, this reminds me of a talk Nissenen gave when he first came to Boston. He said that he wanted Boston to be as proud and excited about its ballet company as it is of its baseball team.

I wonder if he realizes that in both cases the audience loves to see a successful last-minute substitution?

I suppose, however, this must be balanced against the marketing appeal of including an artist from a company seldom seen by a Boston audience.

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Well, I think it wouldn't have been too hard to use a dancer from the company. I'm sure there is some soloist, if not corps member who was learning that as a 4th or 5th cast. I do think that one of the appeals of having Barker dance is that she is a top dancer from a company on the other side of the country. I think guestings are great but a part of me always thinks, "Too bad a dancer from the home company didn't get a chance to show what they could do". Everything happens for a reason though and I'm sure it was a treat to see Barker and I'm sure that drew some people who might not have been coming to last minute grab tickets.

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So what does Lilac do in this production? I'm not sure which production this is.

Is it Wright's 1980s RB production? In other words - is the no-points Lilac, with an extra fairy dancing the big variation in the prologue in her place?

Somehow I think in that case it is a little sad the part is guested from outside the co.

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Just quickly(have to pick up at ballet), I was very distracted by Ms Barker's exceptionally hyperextended legs--I thought it ruined her otherwise gorgeous line.

I was, though, curious to see her dance and actually like seeing guests.

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I went to the performance on Saturday evening, May 14, and was fortunate to see Larissa dance Aurora. She's replaced Jennifer Gelfand in my affections (although I had a brief flirtation with Adriana Suarez). Since Paul Thrussell left I've not been able to pick a favorite male dancer.

A curious incident happened during last night's performance - the carriage delivering Carabosse to the christening went out of control and tipped over. (It seems the imps learned how to drive in Boston.) Carabosse nearly flew into the orchestra pit. "She" (Viktor Plotnikov) managed to stay on her feet and recovered without a momen't hesitation. I kind of wished that the dancers could improvise, at least a little bit - I would like to have seen Carabosse deal with her imps by miming, "I'll deal with you later," or something of that nature. :FIREdevil:

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My daughter and I were also fortunate to see Sat night's production...WOW!! We loved Larissa's dancing, the set, and the costumes. The careening carriage got our attention and it was fun to see such a smooth recovery. A magical evening.

We really miss Pollyanna, however! She was the "replacement" in our hearts for Jennifer, the dancer that we connected with the most. It is funny how we all have our favorites.


One more thing..I was shocked and pleased to see so many young people in the audience on a Sat night. No doubt most of them are taking advantage of the $15 student rush. I was very encouraged for the future.

Edited by flygirl
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