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"new" soloists

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I'm really glad the company forums are back! In that vein (I wasn't sure where else a general discussion of a company's dancers would go), I'd be interested in hearing impressions of the "new" soloists. (Also, I'm hoping we can get away from the extended hoo-ha over Vishneva's cancellations.) I put "new" in quotation marks because they were promoted almost a year ago, but this is our first chance to see them in major roles in New York.

I haven't been following ballet for all that long, and it's a surprise to find how much pleasure I get from seeing favorite corps members move up into bigger roles.

Someone mentioned how well Veronika Part and Kristi Boone look dancing together, which I totally agree with. I also find the Maria Riccetto-Yuriko Kajiya pairing lovely. They are both so warm, lyrical, and light.

And like others, I found Jared Matthews lacking confidence in Etudes. But I'd be nervous too if I knew the audience had come expecting to see Angel Corella.

Seems to me ABT now has a terrific group of promising soloists. Which leaves me wondering why in the world they're bringing in Marisa Lopez (see the press release for upcoming casting) for Bayadere, when we haven't gotten to see nearly enough of the new soloists.

A few questions about corps members: I haven't seen Hee Seo yet this season, has anyone else seen her, or is there word on why she's not dancing?

Also, when did Melissa Thomas get so beautiful? I really noticed her during the City Center season, and now I find I watch her all the time, whether it's in the pas de trois of SL, or as a member of an ensemble, as in Etudes.

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Seems to me ABT now has a terrific group of promising soloists. Which leaves me wondering why in the world they're bringing in Marisa Lopez (see the press release for upcoming casting) for Bayadere, when we haven't gotten to see nearly enough of the new soloists.

I'm with you in wondering about this. I found a review of Lopez's Gamzatti in DanceViewTimes. It pertains to a February 2007 performance, but does not sound too promising:

Second soloist Marisa Lopez joined the company from San Francisco Ballet. I found her Gamzatti nowhere near as interesting as Kim’s. Lopez is small, too small when paired with de Jongh, which isn’t necessarily an issue as long as other qualities prevail. She has a striking stage face and presence, and the mime scenes were generally well rendered. Yet in her dancing she missed the finesse as well as the stamina of Kim. The Grand Pas in the betrothal scene lacked brilliance, with a correct but unexciting variation and a far too tame coda.

and then this BalletTalk comment by Herman Stevens in March of 2007:

I'm sorry to say Marisa Lopez is not a dancer I like in classical rep. She's a Balanchine dancer. In addition I think the company is investing more in her than is warranted. That being said she was entirely satisfactory, especially in the acting parts, her having such big features that even the bat of an eyelash registers in the last row.

Maybe she's a last minute sub to take some of the pressure off of Abrera who is slowly coming back from injury. If ABT is not ready to permanently alter the lineup of Gamzattis, they might not want to take time away from the rest of the season to ready another dancer for the role. But still, it is very perplexing.

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I'm also wondering about the Marisa Lopez-casting.Surely, they could have given K Boone a chance to dance Gamzatti.The rest of the new soloist seems to have a lot of new roles(although i think Yuriko would fit the role of Nikiya better than gamzatti,)

No, i have not seen Hee Seo either and she is not cast as Florine this season(Which she got very good reviews last year.)

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I wonder if they even bothered to ask Carmen Corella to come back to do Gamzatti. I'd really rather see one of our own dancers who has sweated her way up the ranks get this opportunity. Unfortunately, unless my Economic Stimulus check shows up in the mail soon, I guess it will be Paloma's Bayaderes with the Lopez substitution that I will miss.

Christine174, as you point out, ABT has quite the crew of soloists. Last night Riccetto and Kayjia came uncorked in the demi-soloist roles in Rabbit & Rogue. (Weren't they the two demis in red pointe shoes in In the Upper Room?) After observing over past seasons how Maria doesn't tend to take risks, I watched her last night launch herself into a five revolution pirouette downstage followed by a dust-in-your-face exit that was pretty bold and pretty exciting.

Not only are the soloists fantastic, all of these corps dancers stepping up in major, major roles and nailing them is an awfully good sign: Cory Stearns - last night in Etudes burning up the floor opposite Corella and Wiles. He had this big smile on his face and kept looking over at Corella as if to say: OMG I can't believe I'm dancing a principal role on stage with Angel Corella! He did really, really well. Melissa Thomas is an eye-catcher. She looks less coltish than in the past and seems to have complete control of those impossibly long legs. Messmer, pulling out "A" performances under tremendous pressure. Blaine Hoven - I'm speechless. We are so lucky.

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