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Swan Lake


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Can't someone at ABT or the Met do something about the total inappropriate use of cell phones and Blackberrys during the performance? The lady sitting on my other side (Grand tier) was texting the entire performance! This has gotten totally out of control and the ushers do nothing even when you mention it to them. The lady texting told me "to mind my own business". Apparently she thought she was at the ball game. Please someone HELP!!

Sadly I think Swan Lake audiences are incorrigible. I would say the same applies to the Nutcracker. You could however ask multiple ushers for assistance, but who knows if they'd do anything.

A pet peeve of mine that I've noticed a lot lately are "Seat Crashers." These are basically people who buy the cheapest tickets, and then hang around the Orchestra section like vultures scanning for open seats and then take those. That's fine, except most of the time those empty seats are actually taken but the person is running late or coming after intermission. This causes an awkward, "hey! you're in my seat!" conversation, ticket flashing, usher-getting, and the entire row having to get up to let the seat crasher out and the ticket holder in, just moments before the ballet starts.

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I attended to last night performance (Murphy/Corella)

It was a great pleasure to see how Gillian keeps improving year after year in all her roles.

Her artistry has improved quite a lot. You can see that tremendoulsy beautiful back bends going deeper and deeper and a much improved port-de-bras as well. Her prodigous technique has also reached new peaks, showing once again an astonishing control, together with her usual crystal clear foot work.

As Odette, she is still not as deep in passion as Part but overall it was a very good performance (artistry-wise), which combined with that amazing technique made it even better. Act II highlight was her Odette's variation which was flawless. The diagonal with perfectly executed triples adding the much improved arm movements was incredibly beautiful, she ended it up with crazy fast chaines.

Her black swan continued to be once again a total diplay of incredible power and control, combined with better acting and energy. One thing that amazes me about her technique is her confidence, you can rarely see her tumbling, plus, the center of her turns and her supported pirouettes are nearly perfect even when she throws triples.

This year I also noticed improved extensions, making a few 180 penchees that she didnt do before, and some good balances keeping that arabesque high or at a nearly perfect 90 degrees.

Her Odile variation, well, what can you say about that, wow, and her fouettes were again improved (how in the world was that possibe :unsure: ). The lady threw quadruples !!! but not happy with that, she did them while executing a beautiful por-de-bras, i mean, really, the coordination and the control needed to do this is literally insane. As a london critic said about her performance there, "the only thing she didnt do was flying over the stage", for god sake, I ve been going to ballet for many years and I have never seen anything like this. More than that, she finished them so strongly, with the same series of quad with port-de bras, and on pointe ! I was just speachless !!!!!

In Act IV her back bends were beautiful. She threw herself to the lake with no fear (most abt swan queens seem terrified when is time for them to make that jump) after saying good bye to her prince, a very touching detail.

Angel was ok, but he has gained so much weight that its painful to watch him so limited technically speaking, compared to where he was before. Considering his age (he should be at his peak now), its hard to understand.

I guess that running a company in Spain is hard to combine with keeping a high standard of dancing. At this point, I am kind of worried about his future here. I hope (and wish) he comes back next year in great shape, because if this keeps going deeper and deeper, the picture wont be pretty.

Luckily he kind of picked up in Act 3, although the easy and virtousity of his dancing wasnt there either.

Saveliev was not a good Von Rob, especially if you compare him to Marcelo and David.

He looked shaky and his protrayal of the character is far bellow my expectations.

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On Gomes as the Act III von Rothbart on Monday, the NY Post had this to say: "Choreographer and director Kevin McKenzie conceived the villain Von Rothbart as both an evil sorcerer and an irresistible sex magnet, an idea that's not nearly as good as it sounds. . Marcelo Gomes created the role and usually makes a case for it through sheer charisma, but this time he pushed from charisma to sleaze."

The reviewer, our own Leigh Witchel, goes on to ask, "But shouldn't a company with the best dancers be performing the best versions of the ballets?" to which I reply, Where's the challenge in that? :unsure:

Thanks, all, for your comments. Keep 'em coming. I haven't yet seen a Swan this week, but will towards the end of its run.

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On Gomes as the Act III von Rothbart on Monday, the NY Post had this to say: "Choreographer and director Kevin McKenzie conceived the villain Von Rothbart as both an evil sorcerer and an irresistible sex magnet, an idea that's not nearly as good as it sounds. . Marcelo Gomes created the role and usually makes a case for it through sheer charisma, but this time he pushed from charisma to sleaze."

The reviewer, our own Leigh Witchel, goes on to ask, "But shouldn't a company with the best dancers be performing the best versions of the ballets?" to which I reply, Where's the challenge in that? :devil:

Thanks, all, for your comments. Keep 'em coming. I haven't yet seen a Swan this week, but will towards the end of its run.

But you have seen the La sylphide of Veronika and Hee. :unsure: Please give us your report. :beg::beg: :blush:

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I was at the Murphy/Corella Swan Lake and would second the comments by Classic Ballet. Gillian was spectacular and wonderful and the full house rewarded her amazing performance with boistrous cheering and a spontaneous standing ovation. I would also mention Stella and Maria for a sweet and lyrical pas d'trois.

I happened to be sitting next to a middle-aged couple who were tourists from Italy who had come to the ballet simply for something to do. They had no special knowledge. They were not even aware that NYC supports both NY City Ballet and ABT. To put it mildly, they were flabbergasted by the quality of the production, the orchestra and Gillian's dancing. I have to say I was feeling a little bit proud to see the eyes of "Old Europe" opened just a little bit to the fact that America is not a total cultural wasteland after all.

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By the way, re the post above, didn't Vladamir Malhakov create the role of purple Rothbart on opening night? I recall that he received greater applause than the Odette, Susan Jaffe.

You are correct, abatt. With the deepest plies ever.

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My favorite part of the conversation is, "But you weren't here!!!!"

Yes, that one is inevitable. Along with "Where were you?" "We thought you'd left" and the occasional assumption that, since we weren't there for some portion of the evening's offerings, we had lost our right to those seats. The old Finders Keepers syndrome.

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June 24, 2009 Matinee

Michele Wiles/David Hallberg

Benno: Carlos Lopez

von Rothbart, Act III: Gennadi Saveliev (subbing for Cory Stearns :( )

Pas de Trois: Misty Copeland, Yuriko Kajiya, Carlos Lopez

Aristocrats include: Hee Seo, Eric Tamm

Cygnettes: Gemma Bond, Marian Butler, Caroline Duprot, Jacquelyn Reyes

Two Swans: Simone Messmer, Nicole Curry

Regular swans: include Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston

Hungarian Princess: Marian Butler (subbing for Melissa Thomas)

Spanish Princess: Leann Underood

Italian Princess: Renata Pavam

Polish Princess: Hee Seo

Czardas: include Simone Messmer, Julio Bragado-Young

I attended today's matinee, featuring Michele Wiles and David Hallberg. Even though this is my favorite ABT pair and I have always liked their Swan Lake, I found the performance slightly disappointing, and strangely more because of Hallberg's introspective and quite reserved Prince than Michele's Odette or Odile. It must be stated that Hallberg still dances extremely beautifully -- with jumps, landings, extension, lines that are lyrical and excellently executed. Nobody can legitmately find fault with his technique or his overall visual presentation. Nor can one fault his relatively classical and understated approach to the role of the Prince -- it is commendable in today's world. :huh: My goodness -- through the last moment of his appearance when he jumps off the cliff after Odette does --- he looks incredible.

But what is it about Hallberg's Siegfried that left me slightly disappointed? Maybe that his Siegfried was ever so slightly too even-keeled in general. That he was acting largely using his face, although his body displayed at all times gorgeous lines and its own intrinsic pristine form. That he was quite serious-looking in Act III, even after Odile showed up, not really even smiling or exhibiting obvious joy until after the Odile fouettes. (I appreciate one can be enthralled and fall for somebody without portraying obvious joy.) These thoughts are quite difficult for me to express, given that I appreciate all of Hallberg's performances (including today's) a great deal.

Michele's Odette and Odile continue to be quite appealing to me, although I appreciate that is not a universally shared sentiment. Alas, the applause for her was so limited at the end that she (and others) did not even appear from behind the curtains the way the dancers normally do, after the "large" curtain closes for the second time. I don't know if that is less abnormal in view of the fact this is a matinee, but I would think not. There were some children in the audience, including one who cried a bit during the pre-intermission period and had to be taken away.

Overall, Michele and David remain very accomplished dancing Swan Lake in my eyes. Today, though, there was a tiny bit of something missing. :huh:

My pet peeves: Neighbors opening candy wrappers nosily, chewing candy or gum, in a way you can hear during the performance.

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I just returned from a Swan Lake tonight that was easily the most memorable Swan Lake I can remember. The performance was not perfect, but it was one of those performances that seemed to become greater as the night went on, so by the time there was the final curtain it was a screaming ovation.

The leads were Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes. I'd never seen Vishneva's O/O, and even though I am a huge fan of this dancer, I was not sure if she is a natural O/O. Well, she isn't a "natural," but somehow she's carved out a portrayal that's as moving as any Swan Lake I've ever seen. She has a somewhat unusual physique -- extremely long arms and an uber-flexible back, alongside legs and feet that look merely serviceable. She uses her large expressive eyes to great effect. Her Odette is mournful, but slightly aloof. She has a way of holding Siegfried at bay with a quick flick of her fingers and an upwards glance. Yet it's not a cold Odette by any means -- during the famous pas de deux, Vishneva used her uber-flexible back and long, fluid arms to give the impression that at times she was literally melting into Marcelo's arms. By the end of the pas de deux, one sensed two people who had genuinely fallen in love onstage. If Vishneva had a shaky moment it was Odette's variation. She messed up on a pirouette, fell off pointe briefly, and never could gain the momentum to finish the difficult diagonal pirouette sequence with the proper flourish. But the great thing about this dancer is that she always takes risks, and gives it her all, and she finished act 2 with a great series of scissones.

I thought Vishneva's Odile was more low-key than I expected, but it had the right touch of glamor, and her chemistry with Marcelo was by this time unmistakable, and they really sizzled in their black swan pas de deux. They were having fun, and it showed. Odile's variation was much smoother than Odette's -- no stumbles whatsoever. Vishneva's fouettes were sprinkled with some doubles, which kind of slowed down her momentum, but by now I've come to accept that the effort that she shows in her dancing is like part of her portrayal. She doesn't take the easy way out. At the end of the evening she got a huge, loving ovation and flowers thrown to the stage.

Her Prince, Marcelo Gomes, was a prince in every sense of the word. He and Vishneva are inherently well-matched -- both dark-haired, intense performers. He's a beautiful partner, and I hope the partnership between these two great artists continues. I wonder how much better Vishneva's Giselle would have been with Gomes at her side.

I otherwise don't have many nice things to say about the production. I thought the corps de ballet looked very ragged at times, especially in Act 1. In Act 2 memories of the Bolshoi in Corsaire made me all too aware of the differences in schooling and style between the various swans, which prevented them from really dancing as one. The harmony they had achieved in Giselle was gone. In Act 4, the choreography is so bad and distracting that it was only the spellbinding dancing between Vishneva and Gomes that kept me in my seat.

But still, at the end of the evening one judges Swan Lake by its leads and tonight Vishneva and Gomes hit a grand slam. :wub:

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I just got home from Wednesday's evening performance with Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes and all I can say is WOW!

Daniil Simkin was fabulous as usual, and the four cygnettes were spot on, but the rest of the cast looked a tad ragged, in my opinion.

But who cares when you've got Vishneva and Gomes dancing their hearts out?!

The theater was absolutely packed; the standing room was full; there were many children, but during the White Swan pas de deux, there was absolute silence in the audience. I didn't hear a single cough or sneeze (at least not in the Orchestra section). And the crowd rewarded them richly with applause, calling them out for a second round of bows.

Vishneva was so convincing in her characterizations that my friend, who'd never seen "Swan Lake" before, thought that Odette and Odile were played by different ballerinas! :wub: (Granted, we were way in the back of the Orchestra section.) She was stunning tonight!

Well, I might write more later, but I just wanted to say that I am a big, big fan of the Diana-Marcelo partnership, and I absolutely cannot wait to see their "Romeo & Juliet"!!

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Diana was absolutely exquisite tonight.

What else can you say.

I loved her Odette. I thought it was unusual in that she was very sad, continually cloaked in sadness. She kept a plaintive but changing face; at any moment you could read her predicament in her heavy brow and sad eyes. She also gave the character some nobility and an air of resignation. I was amazed at how she was able to maintain absolute somber control of her face during her variations. It was as if she channeled the exertions of her steps into a stately sadness. I didn't think anyone could be as powerful as Nina playing Odette but Diana was beautiful and very close.

Her Odile was sparkling, sensuous. I noticed Diana does a lot with her mouth... maybe I remember Macaulay gushing about this at some point. If he was there tonight I'm sure he was enjoying himself. She changed from sexual aggression to cunning, deception every few moments, flashing back to a big sinister smile. I liked her in this ballet because the roles are night and day with her; she's very different. Her whole face lit up as Odile, in contrast to her pitiable Odette. The act iii pas de deux was just superb; she and Marcelo built each snippet of choreography to a thrilling climax. She has such a flexible back and was doing this thing every time she and Marcelo came together, rolling her shoulders sensuously toward him, then throwing her head back into an arabesque. It was incredible; she had the crowd in her palm.

Marcelo was his strong, handsome self. He seemed a little soft tonight but I've only seen him a few times, so maybe that's his style. I confess I wasn't exactly watching him the whole time either.

Isabella Boylston, Daniil Simkin, and Sarah Lane danced the pas de trois. Lane has a beautiful lightness to her movements, but I think her molar-flashing smile bothers me because she's just showing teeth, rather than smiling with her whole face. Simkin stole the show again. His massive jumps belie his small stature. Do you think we'll see him doing Don Q with Osipova in a few years...hmmm?! I hope so. The Met might collapse with all the !!ballon!!. Haha.

Grant DeLong and Blaine Hoven danced the Neapolitan. I didn't think DeLong was as strong as Hoven but he stood out to me for the quality of his positions. I've never noticed him before. Jared Matthews was von Rothbart (purple) and Roman Zhurbin the green monster-thing.

The orchestra was an awful mess. So lethargic. Every recording I've ever heard sounded better than they did tonight. The second half was better than the first, but still sketchy. Also, the sheer black curtain seemed to get stuck midway across at the opening of the first act. I'm guessing they pulled it in manually from its slow, jerky departure. I was a little bored tonight in between major scenes. This production doesn't have the zip it used to. Maybe the weak orchestra contributed somewhat to that; I'm a big fan of full length ballets but the corps didn't hold my interest tonight (swans aside). The first corny scene with the capture was really slow... I remember Dvorovenko whipping into the air and onto von Rothbart's shoulders at the first crash of the music a couple of years ago. Tonight it was just weak, kind of sedate. If you're going to Disney it up, then you know... Disney it up!

The orchestra looked sold out, lots of people stayed in their seats for the curtain calls. Not a lot of ABT regulars around me though. Someone asked at intermission how to pronounce "Gomes" haha. It's nice to see a crowd after weeks of empty seats.

I can't wait for Veronika on Friday.

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All I can say is that this is probably one of the most thrilling, beautiful, and emotional nights of ballet that I have ever seen!

The pairing of Diana and Marcelo was magical. I agree about the Act II Pas de deux - I have never seen an audience so still and calm.

Diana and Marcelo were each giving 110% in their performances. And this was the first time that Swan Lake has made me cry.

Negatives - the corps (especially in Act I) was horrendous. The black see-through curtain got stuck twice. There was way too much noise when they were changing the scenery while the swans were dancing out front in Act IV.

But all this is forgiven when I keep thinking of our two leads.

This is a Swan Lake I will never forget!

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Tonight's performance was pretty sensational and I find it hard to quibble. Yes the corps had some hiccups and the production is a problem but the partnership of Vishneva and Gomes was amazing. Absolutely fantastic in acts 2 and 3. I could watch Vishneva's arms and hands for days. There were some jaw dropping moments tonight. Her transformation at the end of act 2 was spin chilling. For me Gomes has grown in the last few years into one of ABT's best dancers and strongest partners. (I'm sad I didn't get to see Gomes' Von Rothbart on Monday, he seems to be the only one who can make that choreography really work.) I second the praise of the four cygnettes. I thought they nailed it. Simkin was terrific too, more so in the solos than the partnering. I've enjoyed him in everything he has done this year.

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Tonight's performance was pretty sensational and I find it hard to quibble. Yes the corps had some hiccups and the production is a problem but the partnership of Vishneva and Gomes was amazing. Absolutely fantastic in acts 2 and 3. I could watch Vishneva's arms and hands for days. There were some jaw dropping moments tonight. Her transformation at the end of act 2 was spin chilling. For me Gomes has grown in the last few years into one of ABT's best dancers and strongest partners. (I'm sad I didn't get to see Gomes' Von Rothbart on Monday, he seems to be the only one who can make that choreography really work.) I second the praise of the four cygnettes. I thought they nailed it. Simkin was terrific too, more so in the solos than the partnering. I've enjoyed him in everything he has done this year.

I won't repeat the kudos from so many about Vishneva/Gomes as they correspond to mine. Sensational!! But what strikes me about many of the reports is that they talk about the messiness of the corps and other parts of the ballet. I've attended all performance so far, and the corps, etc. is not improving. It's sad when one of the finest classical companies in the world cannot put together and rehearse a corps de ballet that is spot on perfect, yet sadder still that we, the audience, forgive it because of the star power presented in the leads. That the pas de trois, purple Rothbart, the corps, and yes, even the orchestra are not all superior in content should not be forgiven. We should not have to wait from dazzling moment to dazzling moment for our pure enjoyment of this work. If the whole production were of a higher quality how much more our appreciation would be and even the dazzling star power moments would fit more appropriately. ABT is a fine company. There is no excuse for some of the casting and certainly no excuse for the sloppy dancing. ABT deserves a better production, to be sure. But even the one it has should be given a better rendering. It seems this week the juice has been drained from the company. I will continue to attend, as I too love the wonderful pairings of the stars. I only wish there was more meat on the bones of this work and more consistency in its production.

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Re the Vishneva - Gomes performance, I join in the chorus of ballettalkers who praised its emotional depth and dramatic force. I think Vishneva was much better in the adagio white acts than in the black swan section. She is not as strong in turning these days as she used to be, and I believe she came off pointe at least once during her attempt to do the double fouettes. Her heartfelt Odette was gorgeous. Simkin is a marvel. Gomes is an outstanding partner and did a beautiful job. Even Jared Matthews has improved since last year as the purple Rothbart.

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I was also at the stunning Vishneva/Gomes Swan Lake last night. I hadn't seen them dance together since their extraordinary "Manon" two years ago, and their chemistry is still amazing. They looked like they were having so much fun on that stage together.

I loved Vishneva's sorrowful Odette- aloof at the beginning, but then melting into Gomes' arms during the pas de deux. Her Odile was fast and dangerous.

This was my first time seeing Daniil Simkin, and while I did enjoy his buoyancy, is it just me or does he seem to wind himself up like a corkscrew in his pirouette preparation?

On the whole, it was a fabulous and moving performance of "Swan Lake". I'm ready for the Vishneva/Gomes "Romeo and Juliet" :wub:

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A quick note about Vishneva and Gomes: Diana is constantly refining and adjusting her interpretations. Her Odette this year was more subtle than in the past. The grief was contained and she held a queenly reserve - definitely noble and not overtly despairing, pleading and suffering. However this was not the world unto herself that Uliana Lopatkina has evolved into - there was lots of chemistry between Diana and Marcelo and the pas de deux was not just about her. Beautiful shaping and phrasing in the arms and legs with lots of accentuation to the music. Vishneva like Makarova realizes that the swan is a "big bird" and her arms are always broad and majestic wings (she never does the boneless rippling water effect). Part and Lopatkina are by default "big birds" but Vishneva avoids the fluttering that more delicate ballerinas can fall into.

The Odile has a subtle glamor - not overtly vampy but not a brittle soubrette as she sometimes has been to her detriment. In the coda of the Black Swan PDD, Vishneva seemed to start to lose steam in the fouettes about 2/3 of the way through and had to crank out some hard-pressed singles toward the end but finished. Not quite the Ananiashvili of 12 years ago or the Murphy of Tuesday night but still impressive. I thought she had some lovely pirouettes throughout the evening.

Vishneva's "Swan Lake" has been plagued by the unevenness and lack of equality in her white and black acts. Odile is something she had to work into as Makarova did. Last night while not as great as some other ballerinas in each act, Vishneva struck something of a balance with the very different aspects of this most demanding of ballerina roles. I think the rapport and confidence she feels with Marcelo Gomes is a big part of this - she never reached this level with Saveliev or Carreno in "Swan Lake".

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I won't repeat the kudos from so many about Vishneva/Gomes as they correspond to mine. Sensational!! But what strikes me about many of the reports is that they talk about the messiness of the corps and other parts of the ballet. I've attended all performance so far, and the corps, etc. is not improving. It's sad when one of the finest classical companies in the world cannot put together and rehearse a corps de ballet that is spot on perfect, yet sadder still that we, the audience, forgive it because of the star power presented in the leads. That the pas de trois, purple Rothbart, the corps, and yes, even the orchestra are not all superior in content should not be forgiven. We should not have to wait from dazzling moment to dazzling moment for our pure enjoyment of this work. If the whole production were of a higher quality how much more our appreciation would be and even the dazzling star power moments would fit more appropriately. ABT is a fine company. There is no excuse for some of the casting and certainly no excuse for the sloppy dancing. ABT deserves a better production, to be sure. But even the one it has should be given a better rendering. It seems this week the juice has been drained from the company. I will continue to attend, as I too love the wonderful pairings of the stars. I only wish there was more meat on the bones of this work and more consistency in its production.

I agree with this sentiment whole heartedly. The ABT corps is just not good. In my opinion, awful to be blunt. And ballet audiences are WAY to forgiving. I cringe when I hear the audience rupture into thunderous applause everytime the corps appears to do something that looks "good," despite there having been so many flaws in their synchronization or individual performance issues. I've seen over a dozen shows so far this season, and never once have I seen the corps dance together in unison. In all the giselles I saw, the Act II arabesques by the corps were all at different levels of height, and would rise and come down at different times. Surely they can rehearse that better?

But as long as the tickets keep selling, I don't know if ABT will do anything about it. But then I'm not sure they have much power over it. I still dance and I get to see the up and coming crop of professional dancers at the top level and I have to say I'm not impressed at all. The American ballet training is severely lacking in many regards. Far too much emphasis on turning and jumping is placed on many of these schools and summer intensive programs. Artistry is not taught until far too late in the game.

Worst of all, there are too many different styles and mixing. The individual members of the corps all seem to think it's their day to shine and are too busy being their own starlet in their own minds to care about dancing together as a group. This is why I can't say a good thing about Danil Simkin. He does not seem to care at all about partnership, and instead seems to just be waiting to show boat again. Ballet is not an athletic event. Yet everytime we applaud him for his jumps, we make it into one.

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Tonight's performance with Steifel/Herrera/Hallberg... some highly idiosyncratic impressions...

Is it Paloma Herrera that's changed, or is it me? I used to avoid her performances like the plague, something about her onstage manner just seemed unfocused, uncommitted. I used to joke that (while a technical marvel) she used to look like she was standing around bored onstage. This season I really love her! She really inhabits a role, and while this wasn't the most fearless performance I've ever seen from her, she throws herself into it. How old is she? I hope I get more time to enjoy her. And it was great to see Ethan Steifel. At the curtain call they seemed really affectionate with each other and happy to dance together. It was sweet.

David Hallberg, what can I say. !!! Even in that ridiculous opening sequence (I really don't get the whole dual sorcerer thing), behind the gauzy scrim, his incredible line makes it all worthwhile. He's so mesmerizing onstage that I had to remember to watch the black swan pdd, I was tempted just to train my binos on Hallberg standing around and gesturing at the queen!

My budget hasn't allowed me to see quite as many performances this season as I'd like -- only 14 so far :-( -- so I haven't seen as much of Misty Copeland as I could wish. I'm sure she'd rather be doing something other than a cygnette, but I was thrilled to see her. Since she did perform tonight, I'm not sure why she was replaced as the Hungarian princess. Misty, I wanted to see you!

The "national dances" do get long. My favorite is the Spanish dance, for its intensity and drama. My second favorite is that crowd-pleaser, the Neapolitan. I could do without the Hungarian & Polish dances, although I did get some enjoyment tonight from training the binos on Leann Underwood. Also Alexandre Hammoudi (Spanish dance) just has a terrific air as a partner, careful and protective of his partner in a way that reminds me of Marcelo Gomes.

I know a lot of you really hate it, so I hesitate to say this, but I do like the swan sequence that's the prelude for the final act. I find it quite poetic.

As many others have commented, it would be great if ABT would post casting for roles like the pas de trois. I'd be highly inclined to buy a ticket if I knew Eric Tamm or Isabella Boylston was doing the pas de trois, and I'd even be tempted to come just to see Leann Underwood or Katherine Williams do one of those princess roles.

On to Veronika!

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I also attended to Vishneva/Gomes SL last night and all i can say is that these two were just fabulous.

Diana is trully an artist. She does dance beautifully, but I see her as a ballerina who uses her body as a vehicle to tell the audience the story she wants to tell.

Its so much more than steps, her character are all about perfection, details, and more importantly she dances for her partner, not for herself.

Her Odette was gorgeous, with that super-flexible Vaganova-trained upper body, beautiful arms and using her head as very few ballerinas know how to use in SL.

She danced it with the perfect tempo, not too slow, not too fast, such a good taste !! and such musicality !!!

She may not be the more accomplished technician, but she did held herself pretty good. Except for a couple of details (especially at the end of the diagonal in turns of Odette's variation where she went a little wild), she was rock solid, nailing a few beautiful balances (at the right times) and some pretty good triples pirouettes during odette's variation.

Highlight of Act 2 were the Adagio with Marcelo (true that you couldnt hear a whisper in the entire audience) which was absolutely fenomenal !!!!!!....and details like that little kiss that she gave to marcelo (in his mouth) at the end of act 2 (just before the transformation when she was saying good bye to him), while executing a beautiful penchee and after embracing him as many times as she could, with so much love, brava !

Act 3 showed a malicious Odile. She used her mouth a lot (as someone commented before) especially that evil smile.

Her variation was close to perfect (except for the very end, she finished up a little out of balance), and she did nail another couple of really long and beautiful balances.

The fouettes were probably the weakest part of the performance. I have seen all her SL in nyc and she always, always try for multiple turns and ends up either falling off point or lossing the balance completely. Is not really that important to me, but i think that it would be much better to do simples turns at a faster tempo (she def can do that) and end them up clean and strong, it does leaves a much better taste for the audience, in my opinion.

Anyway, at the end of the coda, when they were both at the front center of the stage, marcelo kneeling, just before the end, she caressed Marcelo's face so maliciously again ! what a detail !

This is what i really loved the most in this performance. Diana was trully and absolutely enjoying herself on stage as i have never seen her before.

its so obvious how much she loves dancing with Marcelo (no wonder she danced giselle with him at the Mariisnky festival), she added countless details that she doesnt do with anybody else. Now that Malakov is ending his career, i think she is kind of picking Marcelo to built a strong and acclaimed partnership, which is growing pretty fast and so strongly. I just cant wait for theirs R & J, that is going to be amazing !!

As for Marcelo (the magnificent, as somebody call him on this board), what can you say. Such a noble dancer, so elegant and such a tremendous partner.

Those beautiful long legs ...ufff.

No matter who he is dancing with, he always gets the most of his ballerina, bravo !!!

As Diana, he always gives 110% in all is performances, and that is something that as an audience member i trully appreciate a lot.

The rest of the casting wasnt at the level of the leading roles.

I disliked more Jared Matthew's Von Rob. than Savaliev's (which is a lot to say since i really disliked Savaliev performance but at least he had more personality and probably a more suited physique).

Simkim was incredible once again, and once again he showed really weak partnership skills (he cant manage to hold his ballerina straight when holding her from behind, and the supported pirouettes are so sloppy..., luckily with a lot of work, this may be solved in the near future)

Sara and Isabella were better than moday, still I liked a lot more Ricetto/Abrera's perfromace.

Ok, so now, the stage is all set for Friday night's movie-star looking couple.

Since one of the two most beautiful dancers nowadays (if not the most) were announced to dance SL together, i have been counting the days left for the performance (like for the olympics, ha). So far Part has had one of her best seasons since she came to abt, including an astonishing Sylphide !

its like Ava gardner performing SL with a beautiful greek god :bow:, cant get better than this !

Friday night is going to be just magic !

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I was at the Herrera -Steifel performance last night. I found it dramatically inert. While Paloma is technically accomplished as far as spinning and jumping go, I didn't think her upper body was sufficiently flexible or expressive. Also, the use of the arms is key for Odette, and I think she could do a lot more to improve her port de bras. She played a shy and sad Odette. She did some impressive technical work in the black swan section, easily pumping out double fouettes. However, she elected not to be a vamp or a temptress, as some do in the Odile role. Unfortunately, this didn't create enought of a distinciton between the good Odette and the evil Odile. There was nothing evil about her Odile. It was good to see Steifel back, and his technique was strong. However, in the last act his lifts of Paloma were awkward. Another odd thing I noticed is that while all the other men who played Siegfried sat in the chair on the far right of the stage during the birthday party, Steifel disappeared from the stage. If your friend Benno and his gals are dancing for you at your party, shouldn't you stick around and at least watch? He also disappeared during the ballroom scene with the national dances. All the other Siegfrieds sit in the chair next to the queen mother and watch the dancers, if I'm not mistaken. Did Siegfried need to go backstage to check the baseball score? Hallberg was exciting as purple Rothbart, but I prefer Gomes. The pas de trois was Hoven, Hamrick and Hee Seo. They were lovely. I have been disappointed with a number of Hoven's performances this season, such as Mozartiana and the peasant pas in Giselle. He frequently seems labored, and his jumps barely get off the ground at times. He improved last night. The fireworks failed to go off last night when purple Rothbart runs up the stairs to leave the ballroom. Unfortunately, there was not much spark between Herrera and Steifel, either, in my opinion. After the ballroom scene, some idiot in a balcony box on the right yelled out in a really loud voice "Can We hold our applause until the end of the piece." Someone responded by yelling out "have a good time." The place was packed, as has been the case all week.

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some idiot in a balcony box on the right yelled out in a really loud voice "Can We hold our applause until the end of the piece." Someone responded by yelling out "have a good time." The place was packed, as has been the case all week.

While I think it is extremely rude to shout out during the middle of the performance, I really do wish people would not applaud so early or so frequently. In my opinion New York audiences honestly tend to be so provincial in their knowledge of ballet that they applaud awkwardly and at moments that are not proper. Too much applause makes me think I'm at a sporting event.

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some idiot in a balcony box on the right yelled out in a really loud voice "Can We hold our applause until the end of the piece." Someone responded by yelling out "have a good time." The place was packed, as has been the case all week.

While I think it is extremely rude to shout out during the middle of the performance, I really do wish people would not applaud so early or so frequently. In my opinion New York audiences honestly tend to be so provincial in their knowledge of ballet that they applaud awkwardly and at moments that are not proper. Too much applause makes me think I'm at a sporting event.

It always makes me feel so uneasy when they applaud when Siegfried throws himself off the precipice during the finale of Swan Lake. I'm not a fan of the Tosca-like ending, anyways, but it just makes it worse when people applaud during it. Do they know that Odette and Siefried are killing themselves and that it's not just a jumping contest? My other pet peeve is when people applaud after every dramatic or pronounced coda in the music, even if there was no remarkable dancing leading up to that coda. Well, I was watching a Russian video of Coppelia (or perhaps it was some other ballet) in which audience members were clapping to the music--at least we don't have that problem!

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Another odd thing I noticed is that while all the other men who played Siegfried sat in the chair on the far right of the stage during the birthday party, Steifel disappeared from the stage. If your friend Benno and his gals are dancing for you at your party, shouldn't you stick around and at least watch? He also disappeared during the ballroom scene with the national dances. All the other Siegfrieds sit in the chair next to the queen mother and watch the dancers, if I'm not mistaken. Did Siegfried need to go backstage to check the baseball score?

Maybe his absences from the stage are connected to his recent injury or illness (I don't know which). Steifel is a very honest and dancer who always puts out to the fullest.

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