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2009 YAGP gala and Peter the Great gala

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Just came back from Peter the Great Gala. Overall - waaaay below expectations, but had some very nice moments. Major highlights - Herman Cornejo in Le Corsaire pas de trois; Saveliev's Gopak; Tereshkina and Shklyarov in Don Quixote pdd. My beloved Kandaurova was stuck in Ratmansky's utterly inept choreography that even she could not save. Malakhov and Tsiskaridze - their usual pathetic selves. Tereshkina and Gomes not very impressive in the bordering on softcore Manon pdd (maybe I was just expecting too much). A couple of very funny comic numbers. Stunning In the Middle Somewhat Elevated from Alicia Amatriain. Terribly boring Raymonda pdd with Kochetkova slipping and falling off the pointe. Pestov's appearance at the end was a very nice surprise that helped end the evening on a rather positive note.

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..... Jose Coreno in Le Corsaire pas de trois (what a loss he is to ABT) .....

What do you mean?? Have I missed an announcement?? :wub:

I think he means Herman Cornejo--and as far as i know he is not leaving ABT.

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Jose Manuel Carreno was not announced (nor did he appear) for anything in either gala. Joseph Gatti was announced and appeared with Cornejo and Adiarys Almeida in the Corsaire pdt.

Carreno has four dates for ABT's upcoming Met season: Giselle 6/12/2009; Le Corsaire 5/27/2009, 5/30/2009; and Herbie Hancock 5/18/2009 -- not nearly enough to keep me happy, but I guess that's life.

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I thought the Tereshkina-Shkylarov performance of Don Q pdd was the highlight of the evening. Their performance was exciting and very well done. As one of the posts above states, I find Ratmansky's Middle Duet tedious. I wish Kondourova had been given something better to dance. The classroom segment at the beginning of the program went on for much too long. The Manon pdd with Tereshkina and Gomes was well done, but there was no sizzle last night, in my opinion. I enjoyed Cornejo as Ali the Slave in Corsaire. I thought both solos that Malhakov did were not very interesting. I haven't seen him perform in years. His abilities, I think, have declined since his days at ABT. I enjoyed the In The Middle ... duet. It was thrilling. I've seen Genadi perform the Gopak before, and it is always impressive. I've also seen Tsidskaridze do "Carmen" before. It's starting to wear thin. One person in the rear mez was lustily and heartily booing Tsidskaridze. It was good to see Sascha Radetsky again on stage. His partner, Karen Plantadit, was excellent in the Sinatra Suite excerpt. She understood the nuances and playfulness of the role. As noted above, Maria Kochetkova did a poor job in Raymonda pdd; Gonzalo Garcia was fine. A mixed bag of a night that ranged from thrilling to dull.

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I agree with what most people have posted about the Peter the Great Gala. First of all, I noticed that there were many ushers available last night. I think that they wanted to avoid the mess of Wednesday night. The majority of the audience was seated by the time the video started. There was some re-shuffling of the program, but as far as I can tell only Xiomara Reyes was a no-show. Here were my quick impressions:

* I liked the Class Demonstration by the Cranko School, but I agree with what was posted above - it went on for way too long. However, the young men were very impressive.

* The two young dancers who performed "Flower Festival in Genzano", Elizabeth Schmitt and Sam Zaldivar, were charming, but he had a very funny way of sticking out his head when he jumped.

* Alicia Amatrian was wonderful in "In the Middle, Somehat Elevated". I remember seeing her two years ago at the YAGP Gala in 2007 and that she was super flexible. She and Mikhail Kaniskin were so intense in the first act and then their dance to "Le Grand Pas de Deux" in the second act was very funny and entertaining. (I was wondering why the curtain would not open!) A lot of versatility from these two!

* I didn't like either of Vladimir Malakhov's dances. I thought that both dances were kind of dull, especially the one in the second act.

* I have to disagree about the "Manon" Pas de Deux. This was the only dance of the evening that made me cry. Maybe Viktoria and Marcelo performed it better in St. Petersburg (unfortunately I was not there for that performance), but I thought they were beautiful last night! She is such a lovely dancer and how wonderful to actually have her here in New York City.

* Sascha Radetsky was good in his solo to "5 Tangos" (actually there was only one - ha!) and then there was another music glitch for his "Sinatra Suite". He danced in this with Karine Plantadit. Something about her bothers me - not only last night, but on Wednesday night as well. I feel that she is too harsh and rough in her movements. Now I have only seen her in two dances which called for rough choreography, but she still bothered me.

* I liked the "Le Corsaire" Pas de Trois. Herman Cornejo was outstanding as always and I was impressed by the two members of the Corella Ballet - Adiarys Almeida and Joseph Gatti.

* "Gopak" with Gennadi Saveliev was one of the highlights of the eveing.

* I did not care for "Fractal" with Sergey Kheylik, especially the way it just seemed to end, almost as if the choreographer ran out of ideas.

* I felt bad for Maria Kochetkova. I saw her in November in "Giselle" when the San Francisco Ballet was at the Kennedy Center. She is a lovely ballerina, but she was having an off night. I counted at least two slips, but I feel that she got stronger towards the end. Gonzalo Garcia of the New York City Ballet partenered her in this dance.

* Big Red was wasted in "Middle Duet". This went on and on with no end in sight. When they took their bows, did you see the look that she gave Islom Baimuradov? I don't know if she was staying in the character of the dance or if she was really mad at him. That was scary!

* I have mixed emotions about "Carmen" with Nikolai Tsikaridze. First, how happy I am that he was here. I have not seen him dance since last year's Stars of the 21st Century Gala. But, I did not like the part where he took on the Carmen role and danced with the fan. I felt uncomfortable and I saw members of the audience exchanging uncomfortable glances as well.

* The higlight of the night was the "Don Quixote" Pas de Deux with Tereshkina and Shklyarov. I got so excited when I saw Tereshkina do her fouettes with the fan opening and closing. This was spectacular!

*Did they tell Peter Pestov that all this was for him? When he got on stage with his briefcase (which he looked like he didn't want to put down) he seemd very uncomfortable, especially the part where he hit Tskikaridze over the head with his bouquet. He looked like he wanted to get off as quick as possible. I understand the virtue of humility, but come on - this Gala was in honor of him!!

The highlights of Thursday night for me were Corsaire, Don Quixote, Manon, Gennadi Saveliev, and Alicia Amatrian. Everything else was kind of so-so.

QUICK QUESTION: Was that Georgia Engel in the audience from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"?

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as far as I can tell only Xiomara Reyes was a no-show.

I saw Xiomara outside the theater shortly before curtain time talking w. Irina Dvorovenko (who, as always, looked stunning in very fashionable clothing). I don't know why her performance w. Genadi was cancelled.

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I was at both performances, for obvious reasons.

Below are my impressions to add to the excellent reviews of the other BT attendees.

WED. APR.22 - Stars...meet...Stars...

All the YAGP winners who performed were impressive and interesting and did make me think we have much to look forward to in the future.

* The opening piece, "Little Red Riding Hood", began with a normal classical idiom, but then interjected moments of drama and real-life movements and reactions: at one point it looked like children tusseling on a playground. I was actually most fascinated by the music, which was a modernization (like Ellington's Nutcracker) of the original Tchaikovsky.

* The Jockey Dance was cute, but wasn't up to the RDB standard I was expecting.

* I did like the duet for Hiroko Asami and Raphael Coumes-Marquet, but the lighting and costuming were very similar to many other works I have seen. The choreography, though, was interesting without being particularly distinctive, or dirivative, and unlike others that followed, didn't go on too long.

* Mopey was one of those pieces I thought went on too long, so I started listening to the Bach instead.

* I didn't make it to Morphoses this year, so was interested to see the Prokofiev pdd. Wheeldon's choreography is always interesting, and usually musically sensitive, however I did think it went on rather too long. (Which is something I seem to feel with many of his works this past year.) If he shaved it, I think it would still stand up fine, instead of making me feel he was determined to wring out as much as he could from every last note of music.

* YAGP alum, and former ABT dancer, Matt Golding, is now a First Soloist with Corella Ballet. He partnered CB principal Natalia Tapia. I had never seen them do Flames of Paris before, either individually or together. They were fine, as I expected, and got the biggest applause of the evening up till then--(I think we were all getting a little tired of neoclassical pieces one after the other, that were each a little long, and were waiting for some classical fireworks.) FYI: Matt is tall, but not that tall. I think he's about Marcelo Gomes height. His technique and physique have both improved since last I saw him. (But don't get me wrong, he is always impressive, and is learning a lot at CB from his coaches--one of whom is the AD.) Yes, that was a quadruple or two from Natalia during the fouettes; she is a strong turner, with an elegant ethereal line, high extension, and beautiful articulated feet. I'm very glad the NY audience finally got to see her.

* I thought the ABT corps women who opened the PDQ were ok, but needed to work on their Romantic technique, which was all over the place. It looked very "classical" to me, except when they were studiously trying to remember their "Romantic" technique. Of the more experienced women who did the variations, I agree Dvorovenko and Kandourova stoood out. (Irina D.'s hair looked its normal color to me when I saw her after the show.)

* It's still amazing to me that Broadway dancers can pour it out, and still sing full-out, without losing breath. (They don't lip sync to playback do they?--even if its to themselves?) Mr. Kulish was good and deservedly got much applause.

* I haven't seen D.Tidwell in ages. (Sorry, have never seen the tv show he was on.) So I did notice a slight weight gain, but I've noticed that on many dancers who aren't doing classical full-time anymore (myself as the first example.) Everyone here knows the aesthetic, and the strenuous work classical dance is, and shouldn't expect dancers who branch out to other avenues to continue it at that level if they don't need to. He still danced ok to me.

* Marcelo easily assumed the underlying tension visible in all Fosse's work, but danced it with a more classical edge than Fosse's choreography warrants. (No problem applauding his performance though.)

* I was so glad to finally see Tereshkina live (being in Spain during the Kirov's CCtr tour in April, and not having either time or money enough to catch them elsewhere.) I don't have much to add to the above posts re: Corsaire except both ballerinas were fine--Sarah and Victoria, while the guys were ok, but yes, missing some of the sizzle. Having witnessed a few mishaps this past year, I was worried by the fall, but was glad he was able to dance it through, and was still walking upright later that night.


The crowd was VERY Russian so THROUGHOUT the performances....lots of wrappers and paper noises, and constant commenting/discussions to seatmates & those across the aisles. Finally, one exasperated patron next to me threatened to call security if they didn't desist. (The Russians thought it funny, and giggled. But at intermission, I told my friend--who also complained--that I agreed it was rude, and put Russians in a negative light here because of it. Maybe my comment was overheard, because the latter part of the evening was quieter.)

* The opening by the graduating students of the J.Cranko School was fascinating to me to see as pedagogy by Pestov. To see how he worked each muscle and ligament through the exectution of technique was truly a learning experience. I hoped there were many in the audience to take note(s). But....OMG it went on for much too long because each exercize was repeated again and again...One tendus were done, couldn't we have moved onto the next sequence without having to see that each dancer knew how to do them!?

* I've seen In the Middle pdd. too many times now, so the shock value has gone, but this was definately the 'sharpest' version I've seen. They really 'punched' the beats--and not only with Amatrain's hyperextension--very kinetic, sharp phrasing, and lacking the stiffness I've seen in others. I started more cynical than I ended, and left impressed.

* I agree with everyone re Middle Duet. But was interested in how the choreography mirrored the escalating cacophony of the music.

* I agree with everyone about Raymonda. It was ok, but not great. ( And I kept seeing Sylvie in my head unfortunately.)

* Generally, good to see Sascha Radetsky again, but only one tango and music problems with Sinatra Suite surely added some tension. I've now seen this, and in '06 - 07: Cornejo, Carreno, Gomes, Corella, (and of course Baryshnikov many times previously) do the entire suite...And still not seen it. (Don't feel bad, Sascha you have good company) This time, "That's Life" (the only excerpt Radetsky and his partner Ms Plantadit did) was extremely fast, which gave it more punch--literally and figuratively--and I was very interested to see how a Broadway dancer interpreted it. But as I've noticed ever since Baryshnikov, it's still 'choppy' & 'broken into, v. distinct, separate, chunky phrases'. I never see the flow any more. Everyone gets it for an infinitisimle moment, and then forgets to follow through.

(Xiomara was also present after the show, so don't know why her performance was cut either.--Time?)

* I've seen Gopak a number of times too, but loved Saveliev. He made it exciting instead of just showy.

* No problems with the Manon pdd. Tereshkina was fine, Marcelo was fine. I saw some slight compensations in the partnering, and also noticed the (maybe) excessive emotionalism, but that's their interpretation and so made it interesting to see for that reason too. But I also agree with an earlier post that in some ways it was just acting, not a reality that made me truly involved, so I probably analysed technique more as compensation. (Anyways, I remember a Ferri matinee a few years ago, that made our jaws drop, so it's tough to compare.)

* Finally got to see Malakhov live and thought both neo-class/modern pieces too similar and rather dull, yet in part during the second piece: answering his romantic/emotional response to music/movement. But again to compensate for my lack of involvement, I watched the technique instead and ended by realising I really missed seeing him in a classical work.

* The Corsaire pdt of course was very interesting to me. The costuming clashed slightly, (Ali's blue pants again were not in tune) and Lankadem's red was very bright--though appropriate when his Act1 solo was done as an additional variation.) I'm glad Joseph Gatti impressed everyone. He should. And Adiarys' charisma onstage and strong technique can do that even when she is still--so here she had no problems. And after seeing a 'turning competition between herself and her AD, the multiples, control, and solid balances were not surprising. Herman of course made me smile throughout. I'm glad they all were appreciated. (CB Company Manager, and former Pestov student, Matt Bledsoe also had his moment onstage.)

* I've now seen Tsiskaridze do Carmen about 7 times, so my only reaction was: He danced it better three years ago for the Kings of Dance, and wasn't there a rose as a prop too? It is an effective piece though in its staging and excerpted choreographic ability to still convey the whole story.

* Two of my favorites this night were Amatrain and Kamiskin in both works they did. Great versatility, great technique, great timing. To include a comedic performance in the rep that night was a great idea--especially as everyone got all the jokes.

* I agree with everyone re Tereshkina and Shklyarov in DonQ. And hooray, she did the hops on pointe in the variation instead of the usual Kirov version retire/passe. And I saw someting VERY educational during that fishdive in the pdd which explained a lot regarding another I saw. The music for variation and coda was VERY fast; I was shocked, but Tereshkina kept up just fine. It was odd to see someone do the male's steps without really interepreting them. (An internal "verve" and understanding that wasn't present?) The piros were "pushed", as someone commented another does, and other tricks too without any mishaps, but I overall I thought "standard showy" not "hold-my-breath exciting". Together, though, it was a great end to an interesting evening.

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...... the Manon pdd.....noticed the (maybe) excessive emotionalism, but that's their interpretation .....

That's precisely what drove the Mariinsky audience crazy with glee. And how was Marcelo's last 'flop' onto the floor? On the Mariinsky's hallowed wooden boards, one heard the boom and it simply brought home the 'bravos'!!! It could be that the City Center stage is not a bouncy as the Mariinsky's, so Marcello was unable to perform his certified "Big Boom" at the end of the pdd?

p.s. - Thanks for the amazing report, 4mrdncr.

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Did anyone catch the final round on Tuesday?

I went to the YAGP Gala and just LOVED this kids! I am surprised no one has mentioned them yet, as there were so many good kids on the program as well...I don't really know which kids performed...If someone has a list, I have many notes! As nice as it is to have these stars come back and dance, I am curious about who the future players will be :(

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