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MANON June 19-24

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June 19, Ferri/Bocca/Manon

During the curtain calls, a dozen or so, there was Alessandra with a joyous smile to fill the Met and Julio, very happy too. No Giselle still locked in her trance, this was not a Manon to stay dead. Not when so loved by her des Grieux. In the final duet of death the triple spin lifts, the one armed catch, ballet's perfectly arched Ferri feet were all there. But so was every ounce of possible passion, every gram of agony, every breath not taken. Ballet's great dance actress and actor can have it both ways.

As dying goes in this world, it was a good way to die. Hair shorn, raped, in a swamp on the wrong side of the world. But really in love and loved. And Bocca her Bogart.

The Act 1 PdD must have contained ballet's longest and deepest kiss. Wildly romantic, ultimate chemistry. Yet dwarfed by that finale. As it should be, but how hard for mortal dancers. How hard for mortals.

It was hard to understand Manon's anguish at the death of her pimp of a brother, Lescaut danced by Herman Cornejo. That it was incomprehensible must mean that Mr. Cornejo did one fine job, making this slime of the earth even slimier than Swan Lake's Swamp Thing. Victor Barbee's M. G. M. oozed it too. And gaoler/rapist Sascha Radetsky was so directly dirty as to almost justify his murder by des Grieux. With all the depravity and intensity going on around her, Gillian Murphy played Lescaut's mistress and her beautiful, forceful dancing gave some respite, refreshing us for the next emotional knockout from the power couple.

Another power moment as Alessandra flew herself onto the bed, all limbs flailing, total abandon. So many indelible images. That bracelet from G. M. that she didn't want to give up. But did, just in time to cement her love before the cops came. But then placed back on her wrist by the gaoler to celebrate his act of rape. How cruel, that French custom of shearing hair of convicted prostitutes, a final dehumanization.

Brava, Bravo, Bravi.

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I learned a very powerful lesson tonight. Do you know I almost did not go and try to get tickets to this, because I knew nothing about this ballet, I didn't know the story, and I was unfamiliar with the music by Jules Massenet. What got me out tonight was the opportunity to see Alessandra Ferri dance live and a last opportunity to see the great Julio Bocca. I am so glad that I went. It is a lesson for me to try more new ballets.

By the time I got to the Met, the only section available was Family Circle. It really is the nosebleeds, but the view is spectacular from up there!

Alessandra Ferri - what can I say? Is there any other ballerina in the world who is so mesmerizing just walking across the stage? She has such a presence and she and Julio were awesome together! All of their dances together were so passionate and romantic. Ferri was all over the place - she was upside down - right side up - sideways - at one point she and Julio looked like they were doing pairs figure skating, but every single movement she made was given from the heart and she was in total control the whole time.

In her Act I dance with Herman Cornejo as her brother, Lescaut, and Victor Barbee as Monsieur G.M., she kept getting twisted into these pretzel like moves - she was a young girl being whored out by her brother.

In her Act II dance with Barbee at the party, where he kept passing her around from man to man - she was a possession being showed off and sampled.

And every dance with Julio Bocca as Des Grieux was a total expression of love - passionate, wreckless, and given with total abandonment. Julio Bocca was great in his own solo numbers and was, as usual, the perfect partner to Ferri.

Herman Cornejo - I saw a different side of him tonight. All of the times that I have seen him dance in the past, he has been in some type of virtuoso role, where he really gets a chance to show off. He gave a very subdued performance as Lescaut - there were no real fireworks in this role, but he was very effective and the audience (myself included) loved his comic dance with Gillian Murphy. Murphy was very good as Lescaut's Mistress.

There was one other part that really got me - the opening of Act III, when the women prisoners are herded off the ship. That was heartbreaking! The short hair - the shame - the humiliation - the despair - all this came out in the choreography, especially the way they kept covering their faces as they danced.

And the curtain calls? It was definitely a Ferri-Bocca Lovefest!!

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Whew, what an experience! Alessandra is so beautiful dancing with her gorgeous feet and her flexibility and musicality. From the first time I saw her, I felt "dance" had taken her over and used her body to express itself. And then when I saw them together--the trust it must take for her to give in and relax when Julio tosses her over and up and around; and oh yes the chemistry (such a technical name for what is so compelling). The extra lingering look or touch is always there.

I worried when I saw Julio's right knee bandaged but he was splendid.

Herman Cornejo's drunken pdd with Gillian Murphy was very amusing and looked technically challenging (wonder what it was like for her?)

I overheard someone complain that the story was so "unlikely"--but I disagree. Marriage for money instead of love might even be happening today...

They are a beautiful couple together.

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Awesome. What amazing dancers Bocca and Ferri both are, it’s so hard to accept that their partnership is ending. This was the first time I’d seen Manon – though I’ve seen clips and several pas de deux. I hated it, as I thought I would but Ferri and Bocca poured their hearts & souls into it, it was such a privilege to witness their performance. I wish I could see them again on Thursday! Ferri has such an affinity for MacMillan, too. For me the 2 overwhelmingly moving scenes were the first love scene in Des Grieux’s apartment, and of course the final scene – it gave me goosebumps. At the end I was so drained I felt like I had been up there dancing myself

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There are times in your life when you just feel so lucky to be where you are, doing what you are doing, at that moment. That's the way I felt watching last night's performance.

This is the first time that I have seen Manon, and I think it just might be my last time. I fear that no other performance of this ballet could ever match the magic on stage last night, and no other performance could move me the way that Ferri and Bocca did. I can't even imagine two other dancers in the lead roles; it's as if the ballet was created for Ferri and Bocca, and for them alone. They own it.

Next to Ferri and Bocca, everything else was just decoration, a frame for the masterpiece that was this pairing. Before I get to the leads, I just wanted to point out that last night I finally realized what a great comedic actress Gillian Murphy is. I've seen her mostly in "serious" roles and always had gripes with her expression and musical interpretation. But after seeing her in Coppelia and again last night as Lescaut's mistress, it's clear that she's one of the great comedic talents around today, and this type of role is where her strengths lie. Her timing and priceless expression of foolish entitlement were a joy to behold.

Now onto Ferri and Bocca. This was supposed to be Julio's moment to shine, and he did shine, dancing with his whole soul, giving a performance more impassioned than I have seen from any male dancer before. But Ferri managed to outshine him even on his greatest night. The feet! The legs! The extension! The legs! The back! The legs! The arms! And did I mention the legs?

But the highlight was not Ferri or Bocca, but rather Ferri AND Bocca. If they were acting, I didn't catch it. What I saw was two longtime partners who are cherishing every minute they have left on stage together. They bared their souls not because their jobs required it, but because they are at a point in their partnership when holding back with each other would be the most unnatural thing to do. Their interpretation was so raw and honest that at one point I felt slightly voyeuristic, like I was spying on a special moment between Manon and Des Grieux rather than watching a carefully choreographed dance.

In the Playbill article, Ferri says, "I don't want to think about these being our last performances together; it would be too sad. We've gone through so much together." And when the curtain went down on Manon and Des Grieux last night, it was clear that the two dancers didn't want to snap back into reality. They remained holding each other, desperately trying to postpone the inevitable.

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Does anyone have any spare tickets to Thur's performance? It's completely sold out.
Not completely sold out, macm'fan! Standing room hasn't even gone on sale yet. If you are willing to stand, I recommend you be at the box office (or have a proxy do it for you) before 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Standing room is sold for four levels: Family Circle (oxygen is pretty thin up there, and even with opera glasses, the performers are ant-like), Dress Circle (my location of choice), Grand Tier (which can get crowded and where the top of the proscenium is cut off by the overhang, which bothers me but not my friends), and Orchestra. There are three rows of standing spots at that level, and only numbers 1-40 are in the front row. Unless you are quite tall, you do not want to stand in the second row, let alone the third.

The scalpers will likely have a supply on hand, if you're willing to pay a premium, but competition will be tight.

People ask me whether I mind standing. My standard reply: if it's a good performance, I don't notice :) ; if it's a bad performance, I'm not happy sitting :) . So, there! I've been doing it for 30+ years, so I ain't no spring chicken.

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June 21, matinee, Vishneva/Malakhov/Manon

A very different Manon to that of Monday night, Russian soul replacing Latin Heat. Please forgive any stereotyping, it is just how it was. And, of course, Vladimir is not Russian, but from the Ukraine, Bolshoi-schooled.

He was a classic bookish young naif from 19th Century Russian novels. So absorbed in his book (he must have been reading, judging from the spectrum of his reactions to the text), that he didn't even notice Diana till he'd got up to go. He stopped when he saw her, but just as a shy young man seeing a pretty girl. Then he was off to the other side of the stage and back to his read. She began noticing him. And when he got up and walked toward center stage, nose in book(he had sneaked a couple of peeks at that pretty girl), she got up and put her nose into his book, seemingly to read what could be more interesting than she. He didn't notice that either, till her pimp brother pulled her away. He began his courtship solo most gently so as not to scare the girl away, and when he knelt before her his hand barely grazed hers and he backed off. He was giving Manon her shyness. They began the duet, and gradually she began loosening the boy up, and he began to laugh happily. She gave him a light peck on the smile. And the rest is history. In the bedroom PdD, they had a wondrous mix of childlike play and young love passion. He was giving her her childhood, and perhaps really enjoying what bookworming had taken from his.

She of course loved her life of jewels and the illusion of power over men. Given Diana's beauty, not hard to understand. In the middle of the ballet, when he saw her life at Madame's "hotel" he was shocked (not interested in the many offers, he did spill a glass of champagne down the front of one woman's dress), and when she first saw him there, shame crossed her face. She dropped her false life one layer at a time, in a brilliantly crafted performance. As layers wilted away the pair grew more and more deeply in love, and intensity grew. Then after the rape by the jailer, Vladimir kills him. For this young man it would have been more acceptable to die for her than to kill for her. His being was so shattered by this deed that she had to rescue him from the crime(s) scene. Off in the swamp, in the final PdD, she was as much a comfort to him, as he to her. All the technical miracles were achieved, enabling Diana's grand amplitude to fill the theater, and all the hearts within it.

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I have never felt as emotionally drained as I did after Monday night's performance.

This was a historic performance. The passion, intensity, and love between these two dancers was probably and maybe always will be, unmatched. This was not Manon and Des Grieux, but Bocca and Ferri, living a love story, and saying their goodbye. As I was leaving the theater after the third act, I heard someone remark that they could not imagine ever seeing ballet again. And that is exactly how I felt. Judging from the uproar that shook the MET on Monday I can't even imagine what tomorrow night will be like.

Writing about it is almost impossible, no words could do do justice to this performance, and their artistic and personal partnership.

Bocca was a timid book-worm who could not look anyone in the eyes- until he saw Ferri. From the moment he first saw her, he gazed at her until their first pas de deux. Yes, this Des Grieux was in love with Manon at first sight, but you also got the sense that Bocca, the dancer, was trying to cherish every moment on stage with Ferri. When they met in the back of the stage for the first time, they walked slowly towards eachother as if magnetic forces were drawing them together. There was no acting here- no pretense, they looked completely serene as if they knew they were meant to be together from the very beginning.

This was indeed not a Ferri night, not a Bocca night, but a Ferri and Bocca night. However, Alessandra seems to be in the best shape of her life. The long, sustained balances, gorgeous feet and never-ending legs. All her movements are so tasteful- she has the most amazing arches but she will never just throw her foot out there- she stretches it for what seems like a lifetime, and you can just see all her muscles contracting until there's nothing else she can give. It is one of the most beautiful sights to behold.

What happened next is something I will surely never forget. The pas de deux started off charmingly- the feather pen Ferri snatched out of Bocca's hand to throw into the wings fell straight down at her feet. It was under no circumstances a predicament of what came after. I won't even attempt to describe the passion and heat that was that pas de deux. Before the climactic kiss, they paused for a long moment, millimeters away from each other. That kiss WAS surely the longest, deepest kiss in ballet history. Their abandonment on stage is indescribable, as well as how comfortable they are with each other. I can't even begin to count the kisses (and not pecks) they planted on each other during the six minute sequence. Their huge smiles radiated with joy. After the last pose, Bocca rolled over on top of Ferri and they cuddled some more, although through the ovation I could hardly manage to keep my concentration. The ovation continued through the entire next scene, when Lescaut comes in with Monsiuer GM.

The last pas de deux I have no idea how to describe. The moments before it were extremely touching. As they lay together at the foot of the stage I witnessed something so tender I felt like I should look away and let them have their moment. Julio lay by Alessandra's side and bent over her, gazed at her, and then took his sleeve into his hand and began to wipe beads of perspiration off her face. Too close for comfort, maybe, but in this case I felt like the luckiest person that I could see this. :) Then he stroked her face with his hand. It was such a quiet, loving moment.

The death-defying triple spins were unbelievable, and the agony on their faces indescribable. He kept pulling her in to him, searching her face, and she would just melt in his arms. It was so emotional.

As the curtain came up, they just stood together in the center of the stage, looking up at each other. She had both her arms around his waist and he was holding onto her arms. I thought the lid would come off the MET.

As they stood together, looking up into the balconies, you could see how touched they were by all the love pouring down on them. Alessandra picked up one of the many bouquets thrown on the stage, kissed it, and presented it to Julio. The curtain calls were almost as heartbreaking as the performance- it was hard for people to accept that they were saying goodbye to each other- they made it so personal that the audience was going through all their emotions with them. I can't even imagine what they must be thinking. Looking back on these twenty years and realizing that it is all coming to an end.

I heard later that the entire corps de ballet, watching from the wings, was in tears.

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Did anyone go to see Xiomara/Angel last night? Considering Xiomara's successes as MacMillan's Juliet, I think her Manon might be worth seeing. Also, was Julie Kent sexy and naughty enough as Manon with José Manuel Carreno her errant suitor on Tuesday night?

I am going tonight and tomorrow and two "Manon" performances are enough for this boy. Is anyone interested in going with me tomorrow night (Visheva/Malakhov), I have one balcony ticket in Row E to sell. PM me if you are interested.

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I was at the Met last night for Xiomara Reyes' and Angel Corella's "Manon".

I've only seen these two dancers paired up in "La Fille mal Gardee", so it was a definite change to see them as MacMillan's desperate lovers. Xiomara's frame is tiny and childlike- her Manon was a victim of her brother's machinations and a corrupt, sexually rapacious society. I kept comparing her to the only other Manon I've seen in person- the POB"s Isabelle Guerin. Guerin was sophisticated and utterly in control of her sensuous powers- not a sex kitten, but a tigress with lovely arched feet and expressive arms. By contrast, Xiomara was definitely the young girl on her way to a convent- when she first entered I heard Manon's first aria "Je suis tout etourdie" in my head. She danced sweetly, innocent in her love for Des Grieux and then like a pleased child in the second act, enjoying the gentlemen's attention and her new finery. In the last act, she was pathetically fragile and powerless against the Jailer.

Angel Corella as Des Grieux portayed a kind of moral seriousness and gravity that I hadn't expected from him. He is such a sunny, carefree dancer. I could see how his Des Grieux could be destined for the priesthood until catching sight of the lovely, innocent Manon. Corella's clean technique and attack showed the impetuousness of his love, but I missed some of the languorousness and poetry especially in his first solo.

Both dancers had great chemistry and they were completely involved in the tragic ending. At their first curtain call, they were clinging to each other.

I also loved Erica Cornejo's bright, playful Mistress. I did not like the dancer who played Lescaut- he was neither slimy nor enough of the young scamp for my taste.

I'm looking forward to Malakhov and Vishneva- his stretched arabesques and her flamboyant sexiness. I enjoyed their Bedroom pas de deux on the Great Dancers DVD!

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I saw the Wed. Mat. with Vishneva/Malakov/Abrera/Saleviev. I agree with drb, there was lots of Russian soul which seemed most appropriate for the story and characters. I imagine the 'latin heat' would put a different slant on it. I loved Malakov's first variation---all slow developpes and elongated arabesques and the beauty of his performance was breathtaking. During Vishneva's equally slow variation of being passed overhead among her suitors, -- There was one moment when the audience gasped; she literally threw herself into a swan dive and raised her head a few inches above the floor---actually the audience gasped twice; she repeated it. They are a wonderful partnership; they fit so well together physically and emotionally.

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Well.... I can hardly believe what I saw tonight at Bocca's farewell to ABT.

It was one of the most amazing nights of my ballet lifetime. I had never seen Manon in full length, and I must say it kept getting better and better with each pas de deux when watching Bocca and Ferri together, and dancing for each other. I loved MacMillan's pas de deuxs! So full of passion and sweeping movements, while the corps choreography was pretty basic. But those pas de deuxs!!!! Oh my!!!

Bocca danced better than ever, better and more free and spontaneous with each variation. Tonight, he reminded me of some of the films I've seen of him when he was merely 20 years or so old. By the time the very last pas de deux happened, you could have heard a pin drop in the huge Met audience.

I had seen this last pas de deux once before but (I won't name names) it then looked kind of heavy physically to manage and to watch. But not tonight. With Bocca and Ferri, it was complete, very special magic. I'm sure I'll never see it danced this way again any time soon. Lived, loved, as they've never done before. That was the mood. These two incredibly full-hearted artists, both so physically big, souls so big *together* created something of complete abandon, unbelievable daring and freedom. Those thrown tours against the male partner's chest... I once closed my eyes in fear, wondering why they would dare be repeated two more times. Tonight, I couldn't wait to see another. Ferri was like a bird joyously flying into surrender and sureness.

Tonight's house was full of wonderful stars, performers from every walk of the Art world, not just the ballet world. If I started a "can you believe he/she was there list," I'd be writing all night... The intermissions were, for once, far too short!!! Seemed everybody who was anybody, or ever was anybody, to sigh over in artistic accomplishment, was at Bocca's farewell tonight. What a love fest!

The final bows all happened too quickly. Huge smiles and cheers rather than tears. Hearty hugs and fat kisses from dancers all over, past and present...male and female! Cynthia Gregory, Martine van Hamel, all those Latin boys(!), hunks from NYCB too! Many ballerinas we've seen over the years came on stage for the surprise. Showers of flowers. I'm still in tears as I write this. A truly great night.

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Thanks, sz. Having seen Monday Ferri and Bocca Monday night, I thought about them all night tonight and wished I could have been there. I was in tears too, and found myself (quite out of character) wandering to the stage door because I had to see them one last time. I looked forward to hearing about the performance and everyone's reactions--it makes me feel more as though I was really there.

What a gift they give to us, Ferri and Bocca. I am so grateful I was able to see them dance together.

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Tonight's house was full of wonderful stars, performers from every walk of the Art world, not just the ballet world.

This is GREAT to hear. And rare in recent recent years, where ballet has sometimes seemed to have reverted to being considered something of a lesser child among the arts. A much-deserved tribute to two artists who happen to be dancers. Thanks, sz, for helping us to feel what it must have been like to be there.

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Just an off the cuff jotting down of reactions to a lovely, moving, satifying goodbye:

ABT without Julio is hard to imagine. I missed Baryshnikov live in classical ballet, so he was my first male superstar. Let us not forget that ABT wasn't always a constellation of male virtuosity. Circa 1987 to 1994, NYCB actually had the better roster of men, some thought the best in the world. ABT had Julio. A Julio night was a special night that was full of electricity and excitement - you had to be there. Bocca also danced every performance like it was his last with a kind of abandon - a pirouette or turn a la seconde was like he was a helicopter trying to lift off into the air or a power drill trying to bore into the center of the earth. His powers as an actor - whether tragic or comic - was a revelation that emerged into greater detail and wonder with each season. In the beginning his amazing gifts as a dancer blinded me to his theatrical power. He sometimes had seasons that were not as brilliant as others - especially in the last decade. He had his share of injuries with the inevitable surgeries and I felt that the pressure to compete with all the new talent was hard on him. There were a few seasons when you wondered if his heart was in it completely. However, he usually seemed to be giving all he had at an enormous cost to himself.

That is why I was somewhat apprehensive last night - I was afraid that the emotion might be too much and that he and Ferri would go over the top or over the edge. Instead it was a lovely, controlled, deeply felt and firmly disciplined reading - each moment fully wrought and savored and then let go. They were the complete professionals putting aside their emotions and putting on a smooth and harmonious performance in complete solidarity and mutual support.

One person I spoke to felt that Monday's night had more abandon and intensity. I could not be there. Due to the sadness of Thursday night's occasion maybe this was a more elegiac reading. There certainly was great passion but also a measured dignity and grace.

A note on "Manon" - I have never liked the ballet more than what I saw last night. (I saw it first with the Royal Ballet with Durante and Mukhamedhov and at ABT with Ferri/Bocca and later with Nina A.) This was due to a really superb job of staging - it looked fresh, moved well and was remarkably cohesive. Monica Parker did a fine job with the entire company. The problem with many MacMillan ballets is that there are great pas de deux's and miles of dull filler in between in a long and sometimes cumbersome framework. The corps de ballet were engaged and acting up a storm whether portraying roués, gamblers, sailors, officers, beggars, whores of various varieties or nobles. Dancers we know mainly for dance fireworks rather than dramatic acuity like Herman Cornejo and Gillian Murphy gave stylish, witty and assured dramatic performances. And their solos and teamwork were anything but "filler" with their powerhouse dance technique and projection. Herman was even funnier as a drunk because of all the virtuosity of his stumbling and reeling.

The house was full and pumped to show Julio how much they loved him. Surprise bouquet presenters at the end included Damian Woetzel, Cynthia Gregory, Cheryl Yeager, was that Ashley Tuttle??, Susan Jaffe, Diana Vishneva, Kathleen Moore, Christine Dunham, Robert Hill, Joaquin de Luz, Ethan Stiefel, Vladimir Malakhov and all the ABT men, Martine van Hamel and many more. Celebrities like Isabella Rossellini were in the audience.

Bravo Julio for all those years of intensity and passion in your artistry :)

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When you have people in the audience and on the stage like Cynthia Gregory, Heather Watts, Damien Woetzel, Jock Soto, Ashley Tuttle, Martine Van Hamel, Ann Rieking, Jose Manuel Carreno, Cheryl Yeager, Susan Jaffe, Malakov, Marcelo Gomes, you know you were at one of the great dance events of the past 26 years. Not since those great ABT galas in 1980 and 1984(?) did we have an event such as this!!! :):)

And then you had one of the greatest partnerships in ballet come to an end, a wonderfully loving end to the FerriBocca era. I symbolically joined their names, like it should be. The audience burst into a deafening roar when Julio came on stage for the 1st time. At the end of each of their PDDs, the applause was rapturous, as if you knew that you were having the last of a fine vintage wine, and you delayed its inevitable finish, by nursing it sip by glorious sip.

Julio danced devinely. Alex melted into his arms each time they came together. Their last performance was their greatest!!!!!!!!

Seeing people like Gregory, Yeager, and Van Hamel on stage drove home the point to me that Julio was not an insignifecent factor to ABT's survival during those lean times after Misha left. Julio also was tha bridge spanning the gap between dancers of Misha's and Bujones's generation and those of Angel's and Marcelo's generations.

But I appreciate Julio for different reasons, his determination and toughness. He has had numerous knee surgeries on both knees, the 1st before he even joined ABT. His knees have been swollen for years folks. AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, HE COULD DANCE FOR 2-3 MORE YEARS!!!! But, he has given us enough, more than we will ever know.

In Baseball, we talk about a player who is a 5 tool player. A complete, great all round player. Bocca is the complete package. The ultimate artist. :

Bravo forever, JULIO :clapping:

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I knew that his dancing would be amazing but I was most impressed with how he was as a person regarding the whole event. Many dancers could have let all the applause and attention go to their heads but instead of turning the attention inwards as something due to him he kept thanking everybody over and over again. He seemed to realize how lucky he was, saying he was greatful for the respect people had given him. On the intercom before the show (he feared he would be too emotional to give a speech afterwards- but he was forced to again anyway) he thanked every single person involved with the show, even the supers! That's what impressed me, not his dancing, but the fact that he can dance so well and still seem so appreciative of others, understanding that the performance is not just him but everyone, dancers and musicians and staff, together. I was able to most deeply experience last night because my glimpse of him (definitely not enough to truly judge him so maybe i'm wrong, but a good hint) reassured me that he was not just a great dancer but a great person.

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It was a magificent performance in every way. Coincidentally, last night was Tango Night

at Midsummer Night's Swing. So we walked into the Met to the mournful melodies of

tango music as some mere mortals shuffled around the makeshift stage in Lincoln Center Plaza.

The theater was jammed to the rafters and despite the many outbursts of applause the

ballet ran through without any showstopping interruptions. The entire cast delivered a

perfect performance. After the routine curtain calls the tributes began. The curtain rose with

Julio alone stage center and one after another the company members and friends came out

with flowers - piling them up in a large mound.

Some details I recall - when the conductor, Charles Barker came out, Julio gave him a bear hug

lifting him off his feet. Amid the shower of flowers and silver confetti, someone handed Julio

a bottle of beer and he took a couple swigs. At one point several pals lifted him to their

shoulders as he waved and smiled. An Argentine flag was tossed onstage and he draped it

around himself.

Throughout all the clapping and cheering he smiled broadly and was clearly humble and

appreciative of the crowd's response. About 1120pm he and Alessandra took their last bow

together in front - he came out one more time alone - and he was gone.

It was an unforgettable experience - an indelible memory. :):clapping::)

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At one point several pals lifted him to their

shoulders as he waved and smiled. An Argentine flag was tossed onstage and he draped it

around himself.

It was an unforgettable experience - an indelible memory. :):clapping::)

Those "pals" were David Hallberg and Marcelo Gomes :clapping: Hallberg has posted two photos of Bocca from backstage on The Winger today.

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In yesterday's WSJ, Robert Greskovic wrote on American Ballet Theatre in "Manon." He's kinder than some of the other reviewers have been ("MacMillan's uneven but not unsuccesful staging") and also observes:

Victor Barbee's...portrayal of Monsieur G.M......has never been bettered in the ballet's life. In the surrounding roles, however, ABT's male ensemble and solo-level dancers didn't always rise to the occasion of clean precision and easy emphasis that distinguished the Royal Ballet schooling that inspired MacMillan to create these dances.

Imperfect though it is..."Manon" provides any number of chances for ABT's stellar dancers to stand out and someplace finer for its up-and-coming dancers to reach. The sad truth is......since [MacMillan's] death, no one has really picked up where he left off.

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