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ABT - La Bayadere June 2008


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I caught the opening of La Bayadere last night. I enjoyed Veronika Part as Nikiya immensely for the luxuriant quality of her movement and her downright astonishing beauty. At times, the tempo for her dancing was so slow that her movement appeared sluggish, especially during the Scene 3 dance in front of Solor and Gamzatti. From a technical standpoint, her performance was serviceable with an especially brilliant supported pirouette finishing attitude during the Act II PdD. I thought - why can’t she lay it on us like that more often? Other unsupported pirouettes in Act II were less successful.

Gomes’ Solor was fantastic in every possible way, as was Michele Wiles as Gamzatti. Michele’s Italian fouettes were brilliant, particularly with the way she whipped her head from back to front with a glance that said everything that needed to be said about Gamzatti’s sense of entitlement. Even though her Act III solo was absolutely beautiful, as soon as I heard the music, I realized once again how much I’d missed seeing Abrera’s dancing this season as this has become a role that I now identify with her unique talents. My only disappointment was the Nikiya/Gamzatti cat fight. There wasn’t much chase and tumble to it last night.

I thought the corps was superb last night. As the first dancers were descending the ramp, some idiot photographer was standing in the wings in front of the ramp snapping flash pictures of the parade. The flashes were so obvious that I thought they changed the lighting design of the scene to add some kind of electrical storm. Hello? Whoever you are, Mr./Ms. Photographer, you really interfered with the enjoyment of the scene.

The shades were Lane, Kajiya and Thomas (replacing Riccetto). Beautiful faces, no inappropriate gleaming grills, coordinated dancing. Thomas’ variation (the slow single pirouette with the developpe) was really lovely. Her knees are quite hyperextended and look gorgeous at 120 degrees, but much above that, the leg begins to look like it’s going to curve back over her head. Lane again went for all triple pirouettes – making most of them quite cleanly. I have to respect her for what now seems to be her personal standard to make herself do them wherever the music allows. She’s not going to be successful 100% of the time, but no one is – not even Murphy or Wiles.

Does anybody know what the significance is, if any, to the dim wick in the candle dance? For years, I’ve noticed that one of the candles always has a dim wick. Last night I noticed two dim wicks.

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I'm almost beginning to welcome that "dreaded insert in the playbill" this season (at ABT), since so often the replacement has been Melissa Thomas, and what an impressive upgrade she's been (and even impressive when she's not been a replacement). Ms. Thomas is very alive and attractive, the tallest of last night's Shades, fine this season in both allegro (she'll take risks) and adagio (expansive, open), and so far, for me, the discovery of ABT's Met engagement. Of course Ms. Lane delighted the audience, as she's been doing for quite some time, and, once she's a principal, I'll really miss her Shade.

Thanks for the explanation about the flash photographer in the wings, I'd thought someone had decided to jazz up all that boring entrance down the ramp stuff with some lightning effects (or perhaps wanted to make the ballet more in step with the weather ouside). Very distracting to those of us that enjoy being bored by this scene...

... with an especially brilliant supported pirouette finishing attitude during the Act II PdD.

Yes, Veronika Part in Attitude is Classical Ballet!

Other special delights include Sarawanee Tanatanit's Aya, who every year adds such realism and continuity to the ballet's story, and Craig Salstein's dynamic head fakir. Gennadi Saveliev and Victor Barbee invested the Radjah and High Brahmin, respectively, with plenty of dramatic and emotional presence.

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I caught the opening of La Bayadere last night. I enjoyed Veronika Part as Nikiya immensely for the luxuriant quality of her movement and her downright astonishing beauty. At times, the tempo for her dancing was so slow that her movement appeared sluggish, especially during the Scene 3 dance in front of Solor and Gamzatti. From a technical standpoint, her performance was serviceable with an especially brilliant supported pirouette finishing attitude during the Act II PdD. I thought - why can’t she lay it on us like that more often? Other unsupported pirouettes in Act II were less successful.

Gomes’ Solor was fantastic in every possible way, as was Michele Wiles as Gamzatti. Michele’s Italian fouettes were brilliant, particularly with the way she whipped her head from back to front with a glance that said everything that needed to be said about Gamzatti’s sense of entitlement.

I thought much better of Veronika's performance than you did, I think. She got much more smoothly through the scarf section than did any of the dancers I saw from the Kirov in April.

I agree with you on Gomes' Solor, but not on Michelle Wiles. She is not a dancer I particularly enjoy, but I usually find her technically solid.

Her Gamzatti however did nothing for me. She was fine during the mime scenes, but she seemed to interpret the unlikeability of the character as a reason to dance with a harshness and brittleness that I found unattractive. I think someone mentioned it on ballettalk earlier, but she seems to have developed an odd hitch with her head in her leaps that is particularly unattractive--it looks like the head movement of a strutting pigeon.

Her Italian fouettes and regular fouettes were good, in fact her turning was on the whole, but for me there was nothing beautiful in her movements, and the solo in the engagement pas de deux, one of my favorite variations, was incredibly flat. Especially when viewed in contrast with the lushness of Veronika. I know that Nikiya and Gamzatti are very different characters, and that should be brought out in the dance quality as well as the mime, but I did not find this an effective way to do it.

just my 2 cents

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I had to leave the performance early, right after the shades section.

Did anybody notice Christine Schevchenko (new to ABT) towards the end of the ballet? She was listed to do one of the flower girls, but I unfortunately missed her. I've heard Schevchenko is very promising...

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I caught the opening of La Bayadere last night. I enjoyed Veronika Part as Nikiya immensely for the luxuriant quality of her movement and her downright astonishing beauty. At times, the tempo for her dancing was so slow that her movement appeared sluggish, especially during the Scene 3 dance in front of Solor and Gamzatti. From a technical standpoint, her performance was serviceable with an especially brilliant supported pirouette finishing attitude during the Act II PdD. I thought - why can’t she lay it on us like that more often? Other unsupported pirouettes in Act II were less successful.

Gomes’ Solor was fantastic in every possible way, as was Michele Wiles as Gamzatti. Michele’s Italian fouettes were brilliant, particularly with the way she whipped her head from back to front with a glance that said everything that needed to be said about Gamzatti’s sense of entitlement.

I thought much better of Veronika's performance than you did, I think. She got much more smoothly through the scarf section than did any of the dancers I saw from the Kirov in April.

I agree with you on Gomes' Solor, but not on Michelle Wiles. She is not a dancer I particularly enjoy, but I usually find her technically solid.

Her Gamzatti however did nothing for me. She was fine during the mime scenes, but she seemed to interpret the unlikeability of the character as a reason to dance with a harshness and brittleness that I found unattractive. I think someone mentioned it on ballettalk earlier, but she seems to have developed an odd hitch with her head in her leaps that is particularly unattractive--it looks like the head movement of a strutting pigeon.

Her Italian fouettes and regular fouettes were good, in fact her turning was on the whole, but for me there was nothing beautiful in her movements, and the solo in the engagement pas de deux, one of my favorite variations, was incredibly flat. Especially when viewed in contrast with the lushness of Veronika. I know that Nikiya and Gamzatti are very different characters, and that should be brought out in the dance quality as well as the mime, but I did not find this an effective way to do it.

just my 2 cents

I agree with you regarding Michelle's forward head motion and also the harshness of her dancing. In addition, she had almost no rapport with Gomes. I first noticed her head motion it last week.

I was at the dress rehearsal yesterday and saw Yuriko Kajiya as Gamzatti. She will be dancing the role this week. Her dancing was absolutely beautiful. Her technique was outstanding and her acting was ideal. I would have expected her to shine as Nikiya, but was pleased to see her do so well as Gamzatti. She also danced beautifully as the second of the three shades.

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I agree with Aurora about Wiles. I am very disappointed that Irina Dvorovenko is not dancing Gamzatti this season. I've never seen anyone as vindictive or scintillating in the role; she was spectacular last year, and Wiles was nowhere near her level last night.

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Did anyone on this forum go see La Bayadere on June 24? I went with a friend of mine that I've been talking up David Hallberg to. I saw his Don Q, and also his performance in the Rabbit and Rogue and thought he's been having a really lovely season. The thing is, La Bayadere yesterday had some really surprising (shocking?) problems in the corp de ballet, both male and female, and the principals seemed either rattled by that or very tentative for some other reason. The principals were Hallberg as Solor, Murphy as Nikiya and Wiles as Gamzatti.

In the Dance of the Shades the second girl from the left in the front row totally lost her balance in arabesque and actually never really recovered it, which undermined the whole effect. In the candle dance, three of the girls didn't have both candles lit and that seemed like a weird problem, and then two of them collided with each other. There was a loud clang, and then one of them dropped her lamp, which fell with a thud and it rolled to the back left of the stage (from audience point of view) and the unfortunate dancer standing there almost tripped on it while she tried to dance. As they were exiting, one of the corps members broke rank and choreography to scoop up the dropped lamp.

I've looked up the reviews for the recent La Bayadere and mostly they are glowing, especially about the corps de ballet. Did I just catch them all on an exceptionally off night? Is it worth going back to see the same cast on Saturday?

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Lincoln Center Fan, I'm a huge David Hallberg fan too but you could never go wrong by adding another performance in order to see fantastic Marcelo Gomes at the Sat matinee. That's when I'm going and can hardly wait! Hopefully the corps will have recovered from their "wobbles" and can put it behind them. Poor things - I'm sure they were heartbroken to have such a performance.

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ABT- La Bayadere

Opening Night, 06/23/08

Cast: V. Part (Nikiya)

M. Gomes (Solor)

M. Wiles (Gamzatti)

Last Monday, V. Part was one of the most beautiful Nikiyas I have ever seen.

Her astonishing beauty seems to fit this ballet so well that I could not look anywhere else but her during the entire performance. Ms Part combined her beautiful line with expressiveness and a lyrism rarely seen nowadays in classical ballet ballerinas. At the same time, she delivered a very secure and solid technical performance, which made her dancing reach the level that we have all been expecting from such a gifted and talented ballerina.

The way she flew throughout the stage in the 3rd act was something truly especial (her “grand jetes are out of this world). It was also great not to see the “slow motion piquees” or the "scared faces" that she had in the past whenever something tough to execute was coming. She actually surprised me in the 2nd act with a couple of very well executed triple pirouettes and she went through the scarf variation very successfully as well (much better than the Kirov’s ballerinas that I saw at City Center, Lopatkina and Somova).

I have always been an admirer of Ms Part beauty and lyrism, but I have also recognized her insecurities and inconsistencies, especially the tough times that she has had executing technically demanding steps. However, this year Ms Part seems to be finally decided to get over her fears or whatever it was, and she has delivered astonishing performances in all her appearances at the Met. I have seen her “Swan Lake”, Dryads Queen and Mercedes in “Don Quixote”, Lilac Fairy in “SB” and one of the Odalisques in “Le Corsaire”. Every single performance has been outstanding, she is dancing with a confidence that I never saw on her before. Is that because the pressure on her is gone? Is she finally enjoying her dancing? After I saw her on Monday and throughout the season, its hard to think of her as a soloist anymore. Will this be her year ? I really hope so and I also hope we can get the chance to see her in new roles in the coming years at ABT.

(Apparently, she is definitely staying with the company)

M. Gomes’s Solor was, as always, a master class of elegance, cleanliness and tremendous partnership. What else can we say about Marcelo “the magnificent”, as somebody call him in this forum ? His variations well perfectly executed and his acting was as impressive as always. He definitely has great chemistry with Ms Part and they both have tremendous stage presence, which of course, helps.

As for Ms Wiles’s gamzatti, I agree with most of what its been said here. On one hand, her technique is prodigious, especially for a ballerina of her size (although her jumps are not as good as one may expect). She has a beautiful line as well. However, she still looks too stiff especially on her neck, back and shoulders. She does has some “mannerisms”, and one that I particularly hate is something she does with her fingers (like opening her hand and spreading them) whenever she wants to express or indicate something, it looks a little grotesque to me. She has also picked this “head movement” that you guys mentioned before.

Her 3rd act variation was fantastic though, very impressive control. Ms Wiles is a ballerina with a great talent and most of her problems can be corrected, its probably just a matter of time or is it a matter of whoever is coaching her ? I also agree with the fact that Irina Dvorovenko delivered a terrific gamzatti last year (to me, the best by far here, and I am not precisely in love of her)

The corp was absolutely terrific, perfect synchronization (bravo !!) and the three shades were also fantastic, particularly Sarah Lane (what an Aurora debut !!).

Overall, great performance !!!

I also wanted to mention here my opinion about the review of this performance that came out in the NYtimes. I totally respect the opinions of the critics, although they differ many times with my personal point of view (and between themselves), but in this case I have to say that the critic that Ms Part received today seems to me pretty unfair . I don’t get the point of mentioning whatever problems Ms Part had last year in Sleeping Beauty or since she arrived in the company in 2002, it seemed to me like the critic wanted to say something bad and that’s what she picked. What does that has to do with her Monday performance ? Why does the critic has to say that Ms Part is both, divine and disastrous, if all she had to say about her Monday performance was good ?

Luckily, the danceviewtimes’s critic had a completely different opinion as well as the NYsun.

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ABT La Bayadere 23 June

Part/Gomes/Wiles

This was my first view of Veronika Part in a three-act work, and I was enchanted with her work.

She is strikingly beautiful, her movements luxuriously expressive,

her musical sensitivity acute, her command of classical technique profound.

In the first act, with her every appearance, alone or with Solor or with the High Brahmin, she invested meaning during her time on stage, passionately, --either advancing the story line or explicating her part in it, through her movements and gestures and mime. She made the first act something interesting on its own, instead of something to get through ‘until the good parts come’.

Craig Salstein was the best Magdaveya I’ve seen.

In the party scene her ‘Bayadere’ dance was sinuous and somewhat melancholic; I missed the fast, ‘corny’ section that Makarova must have excised.

Surprising to me was Makarova’s choice of having Solor with Gamzatti leave the scene before the death of Nikiya. It just makes him appear to be more deeply caddish and unregenerate.

Ms Part’s dancing in the Shades scene, appeared to me to be dancing of the highest quality.

Her grand jete developpe has a buoyancy, and a millisecond’s lift at the top of the jump, while the body maintains its lifted center, that is breathtakingly beautiful. In my view it has no equal.

As earlier posters have noted, the multiple supported pirouette finishing in attitude, in the pas de deux, was simply transcendent.

I found all the various pirouettes of Ms Part beautiful, in that none called attention to itself but simply became part of the flow of the dance phrase.

A brilliant example of that was the scarf dance; a smooth succession of revolutions creating a flowing line, a stand-in for an emotional connection, between the protagonists. Never have I seen the drama of the dance captured so seamlessly.

Mr. Gomes deserves equally extravagant praise for his Solor. He is a dancer of such power and conviction. And he jumps, oh yes.

The three shades, Sara Lane, Yuriko Kajiya, and Melissa Thomas were elegant and impeccable in their turn. I noticed the tempi seemed generally slower than in other versions.

But then the tempi for the shades in the dress rehearsal (Mon. afternoon) were different than those of the Mon. performance. The third variation (I don’t know the dancer) was excruciatingly slow in the dress rehearsal (my companion thought it was dazzlingly beautiful because of the required control), whereas the second variation was quite quite fast (Misty Copeland).

(The dress rehearsal had a different cast for each act: 1st Kent/Stiefel,

2nd Murphy/Hallberg, 3rd Herrera/Corella).

[On the photographer taking flash photos in the wings: I thought the lighting designer was trying to suggest the presence of fireflies (in the Himalayas?)]

I liked Makarova’s third act, although it was a little odd to have the bronze idol dance with no one else onstage.

Sometimes the 3rd act music wasn’t too supportive of the planned dance action. The womens’ sari-like costumes, for principals and ensembles I thought were very effective. Part looked gorgeous in her white clinging outfit.

I agree with Aurora’s comments about Wiles’ Gamzatti. Technically she has command of the requirements of the role. But I find her dancing neither compelling nor technically dazzling. I suppose it’s a matter of taste.

For example, italian fouettes, it seems to me, need more than correct execution to be interesting. They need a sense of style.

My take on Ms Part: she is incredibly, majestically compelling.

Why is she not yet a principal?

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Why is she not yet a principal?

I have not been a Part fan in the past. I didn't see this performance, but many people have told me that it was wonderful. 2 questions (moderators, I am probably in the wrong place so if you remove or relocate I understand).

1. Is it likely that ABT will promote a 30 year old to principal ( I think that is Part's age)?

2. Wasn't it a disservice to her talent to cast her as Aurora last year? I think it did more harm than good?

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Why is she not yet a principal?

1. Is it likely that ABT will promote a 30 year old to principal ( I think that is Part's age)?

2. Wasn't it a disservice to her talent to cast her as Aurora last year? I think it did more harm than good?

as for the first question, why not? i can't imagine she would be the first.

as for the second, i don't know, i didn't see it. :dry:

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I went to Wednesday night's La Bayadere for the purpose of seeing Yuriko Kajyia's debut as Gamzatti, but came away with a new appreciation for the modesty and honest dancing of Julie Kent. It was perfect for Nikiya. The whole night I kept having flash reminders of Amanda McKerrow in this role. Kent's movement was such a beautiful example of unforced musicality that simply wove around and through the music. She seemed especially content and relaxed on stage last night. I kept noticing her tummy and wondered if there was some developing drama there as well. Kent's Nikiya was infused with more spirituality than in-your-face glamour, and her technique was more secure and stabile than what I saw on Monday night. Stiefel was the best I've seen him all season -- characterization, technique and sensitive partnering.

Kajyia had a fine debut. Her Gamzatti was more of an over-entitled teenager with a princess complex. Not much malice or spite there. But oh, what a great chase and tumble scene with Nikiya. Kajyia looked truly afraid for her future when Kent was racing after her with the knife. Her dancing, as a whole, was very enjoyable - her fouettes are the old school type where she stays in plie while ronde jambing longer rather than popping up to releve as most women do. The end result was that she appeared to "carve out" her fouettes with exquisite precision. Absolutely beautiful.

There are no adequate superlatives for the corps last night. They were astonishingly beautiful in Act II - every last one of them deserved roses and a curtain call.

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I was at the Wednesday performance and thought it was very even and well danced all around. Julie Kent is such "smooth" dancer and I love the way she carves out space, especially with her amazing arms and hands. Amazingly expressive.

I have never seen (or noticed) Yuriko Kajyia before and I certainly did last night. I thought she was brilliant and precise in her dancing. The stature difference between Julie and was a bit jarring and has Haglund noted she therefore came off more as teenage princess and Julie as the older fem fetale. But the dynamic seemed to work.

I found Ethan;s performance to be technically there, but I found him emotionally a bit flat and distant for the role. I suspect Marcelo Gomes would create a different feeling. perhaps it's Ethan's blond tutonic looks which crashed the illusion. The same might be said for Julie, but for some reason her dancing seemed to overcome the fact that she too looked like an anglo and not a temple dancer.

The Shades were brilliant last night. The corps really nailed it with very precise work which was a joy to behold.

And Aaron Scott as the bronze idol did a beautiful job, almost up there with performances of the same role I've seen Herman Cornejo turn in. Bravo Aaron.

This was my fav ABT performance this season and the ballet, itself, is lots of fun, especially in the second and third act.

Charles Barker needs to be complimented as well as he got a beautful performance from the orchestra.

Overall, everything worked as it should and it was a glorious night at the ballet for me and the audience seemed to have felt the same.

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Lincoln Center Fan, I'm a huge David Hallberg fan too but you could never go wrong by adding another performance in order to see fantastic Marcelo Gomes at the Sat matinee. That's when I'm going and can hardly wait! Hopefully the corps will have recovered from their "wobbles" and can put it behind them. Poor things - I'm sure they were heartbroken to have such a performance.

I'm torn about giving the ABT any more of my money for this production because the performance I went to was so bad. But all these really detailed positive reviews is swaying me to give it another go. Thanks for the tip about the Gomes & Saturday!

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How was Murphy's Nikiya? This was a role debut, correct?

I don't know if this was her debut, but maybe that means she'll have improved by the time she repeats the role on Saturday evening. I've seen Diana Vishneva in this part last year, and she was sublime. Murphy seemed rather uncomfortable with the choreography - she had a rather awkward time negotiating the big piece of cloth that Nikiya and Solor hold between the two of them during their pas de deux. Her dance in honor of the Nikiya and Gamzatti wedding was disappointing. She didn't seem sad or heartbroken - just a very beautiful ballerina doing steps a little bit tentatively. I've seen Murphy really "own" the part in everything else I've ever seen her do, so I chalked it up to the really terrible night that the company as a whole seemed to be having. I've never seen her wobble quite as much during her balances as I did on the 24th.

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I thought this sentence from the NY Times review of Bayadere was a bit over the top, and pounding 21st century political ideas into a really wonderfully constructed 19th century melodama.

"Orientalism is alive and well in this silly, exoticized vision of earthly intrigues and eternal love."

But then I expect to this reviewer, Swan Lake is an example of avianism.

Like the earlier poster, I was sorry that Dvorovenko didn't do Gamzatti. I think there has been a recent tendency to soften her a bit, and make the little solo she does with the marriage veil too plaintive. It works best I think, if she puts on the crown like she wants to be queen, not like she is afraid of losing her one true love, since after all, she isn't a very nice person. Dvorovenko (and the wonderful Cynthia Gregory) always danced her like she was Odile of the Punjab.

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pardon duplication, but a colleague has noted an email from ABT press dept. that carreno is indisposed and that tonight dvorovenko will dance w/ hallberg as solor.

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Very often in the past principal ballerinas alternated as Nikiya and Gamzatti i.e. Susan Jaffe, Amanda McKerrow and Paloma Herrera eight or nine years ago. This season only Gillian Murphy is doing both roles. Dvorovenko is a great candidate to alternate the two roles but she was given only Gamzatti for years and years, so I guess this season is a redress of sorts. Maria Bystrova I think is a potential Gamzatti given her potent acting as Carabosse and strong technique.

BTW: where is Irina's husband Max and why isn't he dancing Solor tonight? Husbands should know their place and fulfill their balletic conjugal duties. Really, this was a bad evening to schedule a poker night or whatever. I hope Irina hits him with a rolling pin when she gets home tonight! :)

Concerning Part and the NY Times review: clearly Claudia LaRocco has been reading BalletTalk as her comments seem to reference this message board ("Veronika Part - Divided Opinions"). I think many of us have done a better job here analyzing her strengths and weaknesses than Ms. LaRocco in the Times. The review told us very little as to specifics of her Monday night performance except that the role is suitable to her style and physique. I think Part has so far had a very strong season and I agree that she does seem like a principal even if that isn't her actual status with the company. With Julie Kent losing stamina for some of the more demanding classical roles, Vishneva busy all over the world and Nina Ananiashvili retiring next year, Veronika will be needed even more to handle leading roles in the classics. Perhaps when Nina retires, ABT will see that they need Veronika to give luster to the principal roster. I just hope and pray she avoids injury and that Kevin keeps her busy in assignments that are worthy of her talent.

I think several ballerinas have been promoted to principal at age thirty and beyond - some Paris Opera Ballet ladies had to wait decades before being named étoile - Delphine Moussin comes to mind. Although she looks like she is barely past puberty, Xiomara Reyes was 30 or approaching 30 when she was promoted to principal dancer. I think the other principal ballerinas Murphy, Wiles, Herrera and Reyes also divide opinion in various ways, so Part shouldn't have that held against her. As for "Sleeping Beauty" harming Part - I think the negative reception of the production rubbed off on her. Veronika, though miscast as Aurora, wasn't the disaster that evening - in fact her elegance, class and calm dignity elevated the production. However, the short solo with violin accompaniment after the Rose Adagio with the little hops on one foot found her at sea. Her Rose Adagio, Vision Scene and Wedding Grand PDD were lovely in many ways. She is too tall and womanly for the part and is a natural Lilac Fairy. I wouldn't mind seeing her go back to the role - other tall ballerinas like Martine Van Hamel and Cynthia Gregory danced it. But it will never be a signature role for her unlike Odette/Odile or Nikiya.

BTW: neither Susan Jaffe or Julie Kent were perfect technicians when they started their careers as principal ballerinas at ABT. Both got stronger under Kolpakova's guidance. But several times I saw Jaffe flub fouttés in the Black Swan PDD or go off pointe in "Birthday Offering". I saw Kent stumble out of pirouettes in "Symphonie Concertante". Irina Dvorovenko though a strong technician has been weirdly accident prone in every performance I have seen (am I a bad luck charm for her?). I have seen Irina skid on landing from jumps and stumble off point in undemanding passages where she had nailed bravura steps seconds before. I can forgive Veronika much for the overall beauty and poetry of her dancing.

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I cant agree more with FauxPas.

Veronika Part is not the only dancer who brings polirized opinions in many different ways.

I still dont understand the reason why this topic has been so focus on Part.

Its true that she has struggled a few times, but also has Dvorovenko, Kent and Vishneva herself, just to mention three big names (I have seen Vishneva fell of point and loosing equilibrium at many different performances when doing fouettes, for example). I adore Kent, but how many times have I seen her taking a whole tour around the stage when turning and struggling so badly that she barely manage to finish standing. These 3 have also struggle when executing tough technical steps, still people seem no to care at all.

To me, monster technicians are Murphy and Wiles. Reyes has a good technique as Paloma has as well (when she is inspired), but don’t seem to reach the level of the first two. However, Murphy and Wiles lack the lyrism, musicality, upper body movement, extensions and jumps that Veronika has, plus, to me Part beauty has no equal either. Then, why do people (and reviewers) focus so much on Part previous problems, still is ? to me.

Its my feeling that if Part were finally promoted, she would probably dance with much freedom and less stress (the girl is been on continous test for 5 years now, on the verge of being promoted..but no, no this year dear, maybe next, and so on) and she would probably be much more stronger from a technical point of view, as she is been this year and as has been Kent, over the years (compared to where she was when she started)

and yes, Reyes was promoted to principal when she was almost 30 yo.

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In response to Faux Pas's question about why Maxim B. is not dancing Solor to his wife's Nikiya, I don't know. But I saw him last year in the part, and technically he was a big disappointment. He didn't even attempt to do the double assemble air turns in Act II. Irina, however, was wonderful. And Gillian Murphy was a perfect Gamzatti (I've seen her dance the part three times.) I've never seen Murphy dance Nikiya, but from reading the Ballet Talk posts, I think she might be better off sticking to the part of Gamzatti. After all, Gamzatti is a ballerina role, and it's not one many dancers can do as well as Murphy. I'm going to the Saturday matinee of "La Bayadere", and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll post about it on Sunday or Monday, but I'm sure I'll mainly be agreeing with the opinions about Monday's "La Bayadere". (I also saw Part and Gomes dance "La Bayadere" last year.)

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Part certainly is a lightening rod -- I think it's partly(!) because she is stunning and expressive but she does waver, physically and emotionally. I saw her last year with Wiles as Gamzatti and they contrasted wonderfully. Part has that gorgeous Russian arch and arms. I liked NYTimes line about finding meaning in Wiles' technique -- I disagree with almost everyone here -- her lyricism, musicality, vibrancy and caring about her work carry her through performance after performance. We should applaud her and not focus on a finger out of place or a chin raised. After all, last year it was horrible when the Times focused on Murphy's chin. Kent, at last night's performance, was very reserved. I'm wondering why we're not talking more about Yuriko Kajiya who was resplendent, and technically powerful in her debut. She brought a wonderful drama to moments such as when she took the veiled crown and leaning it toward the painting of Solor made me understand with her arms and line her longing and desire.

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So far this week, Dvorovenko's performance Thursday night has been the most incredible Nikyia of the season that I've seen. She was the whole package - solid, passion-packed dancing, gorgeous port du bras - she articulated Nikyia's predicament beautifully and looked splendid dancing opposite Hallberg (who replaced Carreno). I dragged a friend from work, kicking and screaming, to her first ballet, and she was on the edge of her chair most of night enthralled with Dvorovenko's fluidity and beauty. She thought that going to the ballet was going to be like going to the dentist, but at least for now, she's been converted to the light side.

Murphy as Gamzatti really brought out the desperate and dangerous nature of the character and was a good contrast with Dvorovenko's Nikyia.

The corps again was on its way to being near-perfect until the candle dance when once again, somebody dropped a candle or the candle fell apart onto the stage. It wasn't as bad as was described at Tuesday's performance, but it was definitely a klunker.

Hallberg was wonderful opposite Dvorovenko, more convincingly dramatic than I've ever seen him. I'm crediting Irina with helping this along and I am definitely looking forward to their Giselle.

Mikhail Ilyin was the Bronze Idol. He was good, very good, but who will ever etch out that movement anywhere nearly as well as Cornejo? Probably no one.

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