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ABT in Chicago 2010

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I can't find ABT's Chicago dates on the company website. At some point in time, I entered April 12th as the opening night. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I got that date and am trying to confirm if they will be in Chicago and when. I remember Miami disappeared from the calendar last year and the company didn't dance there. I need to go to Chicago in the spring and would like to coordinate visit with some ABT time. I also have written in my calendar that Swan Lake is the ballet of choice for the visit. Anyone know if Chicago is happening? Thanks

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I just saw in the Chicago Tribune that ABT will be here April 14-18.

Thanks...it's great to see here will a triple bill in addition to Swan

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Does anyone know what date and time ABT will hold their Chicago dress rehearsal for members to attend?

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The ABT home page in the upper-left is listing April 14-18 in Chicago:

http://www.abt.org/

Dates are also listed under "ABT on Tour."

Click "performances" and then "full calendar" to see the repertory and dates.

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Hi, fitzgrld, and welcome to BalletTalk.

ABT may be holding more than one open dress rehearsal. I am sure they will contact their donors directly -- or you can contact them through their website.

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Casting for the Swan Lake run is now up at ABT's website.

April 15 @ 7:30pm

Herrera and Stiefel

April 16 @ 2pm

Wiles and Stearns

April 16 @ 7:30pm

Murphy and Carreno

April 17 @ 2pm

Kent and Gomes

April 17 @ 7:30pm

Part and Bolle

April 18 @ 1pm

Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky

April 18 @ 5:30pm

Wiles and Stearns

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Updated casting of the Swan Lake run:

April 15th

Herrera/Stiefel

April 16th matinee

Wiles/Stearns

April 16th evening

Kent/Gomes

April 17th matinee

Murphy/Carreno

April 17th evening

Dvorovenko/Beloserkovsky

April 18th matinee

Wiles/Stearns

April 18th evening

Part/Gomes

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Apparently no one knows, since you've already asked the question twice before and drawn no response.

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Got back to Madison from Chicago this morning and I am surprised to find no reviews. Did anyone else go to ABT's stand at the Opera House?

I went to the Wiles/Stearns Swan Lake yesterday and will report back later.

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I was at the last performance with Veronika Part as Odette and Gillian Murphy as Odile and Marcelo Gomes as Prince Siegfried. First, Gomes was fantastic; phrasing was superb and musical, making all the usual tricks like calligraphy in the air. His acting and command of the stage was also impressive (and this time around even more important, as he was the dramatic link between his two swans). There was no explanation of the casting change. Part was a beautiful Odette. I was a fan after last year's Lilac Fairy in the Sleeping Beauty and she didn't disappoint; beautiful line and articulation, especially in the legs and feet, but a little less so in the upper back and neck. Gillian Murphy is a dancer I'm ambivalent about. No doubt she has strength and can turn, but I do not find her dancing to have much nuance. I was also a bit distracted because I know she wears a pointe shoe that has a bit of controversy attached to it, so I was watching her feet probably more than I should have (and for the record, she used her feet well and the 'shoe' was really only noticable when she was standing flat and then it gives a bit of a 'flipper' effect).

I found the production itself at times overly busy. I'm sure the corps/soloists appreciates that they dance quite a bit, but especially in the first act, but the stage can look cluttered. By the third act (and yes this was the second performance of the day), they looked worn out. The Czardas and Spanish Dance looked as if they were just going through the motions and seemed to be struggling with the conductor's tempos which were bright and musically correct. Not a 'Swan Lake' for the ages, but overall a good perfromance.

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I was at the last performance with Veronika Part as Odette and Gillian Murphy as Odile and Marcelo Gomes as Prince Siegfried. There was no explanation of the casting change.

That is strange. I've only seen the role split once at ABT, when J. Kent was ill. Kent did Odile (on the theory that Odile requires less stage time), and Dvorovenko did Odette. I hope Part is okay.

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Swan Lake

April 18, 2010

1:00PM show

Michele Wiles (Odette-Odile)

Cory Stearns (Prince Siegfried)

von Rothbart (Isaac Stappas and Gennadi Saveliev)

Part I

I have seen Michele Wiles in Chicago twice before -- as Odette-Odile in 2004 (her debut, or close to it) in this very production and as Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty in 2008. David Hallberg partnered her both times and both times they were an unfelicitous pairing, especially physically. The matching manes of blonde hair and the dual ghostly pallors led them to cancel one another out onstage. I have long argued that Alexandre Hammoudi would be an ideal physical contrast to Wiles but, since Hammoudi is languishing in the corps, Cory Stearns proved to be an excellent replacement -- the physical contrast between Wiles and Stearns prevented a repeat of the "cancelling out" effect.

When I saw Wiles in 2004, I thought her performance was technically adept but lacking in force and projection. In 2008, I thought she was very tense in terms of both technique and projection. Happily, her 2010 performance was the most assured of the three I have seen her give in Chicago. Her technique was rock-solid yesterday and she gave excellent characterizations as the two characters (one of which -- Odile -- would appear to cut across the grain of her natural personality.) Wiles gave a well-prepared and well-thought out performance -- perhaps too much so at times. There were moments when I could almost see the thought bubble over her head -- "I will be the greatest non-Russian Russian ballerina this production has ever seen!" I couldn't help but think she was overthinking things at times (especially in Act II.) But when she finally cut loose in the Black Swan pas and stopped overthinking everything, I wanted to shout out, "Yes, Yes, YES! This is what we want to see -- Michele Wiles as Odette-Odile, not Michele Wiles imitating someone else as Odette-Odile!!"

Cory Stearns was a marvel to behold. His technique is pristine and he lent an effortless quality to everything he did. He has a beautiful ballet body and his face looks like it belongs in a Renaissance painting. He was born to play these princely roles. The only (minor) carp I had in regard to his performance was the cheesy grin he sported in Act I. At times, I thought he was auditioning to replace the late Heath Ledger as The Joker. That minor carp aside, Stearns is ready to move up to principal status (especially since Marcelo Gomes and he had to shoulder the brunt of the workload in Chicago given the absences of Herman Cornejo, Angel Corella and David Hallberg.)

Isaac Stappas and Gennadi Saveliev were the dual von Rothbarts. I LIKE The Swamp Thing concept and I thought Stappas was suitably maniacal in the part. Unlike most Ballet Talkers, I actually have more reservations about the human half of the von Rothbart concept. Saveliev was perfectly fine in the part but I can't help but think that this part is really a star vehicle (with the star being Marcelo Gomes.) Without him, the role just doesn't come to life.

Part II to follow!

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Part II

Blaine Hoven (Benno)

Act I pas de trois (Hoven, Melanie Hamrick, Hee Seo)

Act II cygnettes (Gemma Bond, Sarah Lane, Anne Milewski, Maria Riccetto)

Act II -- two swans (Kristi Boone and Karen Uphoff)

The push is obviously on to move Blaine Hoven to soloist status -- he continues to get plum opportunities (Benno this year and The Bluebird in 2008.) Based on the results of his performance on Sunday, however, I am not certain he is ready to move to the soloist ranks (certainly not in the way Stearns is ready to go to principal status.) The biggest drawback is inconsistency -- he has moments of real technical excellence followed by moments of sheer raggedness. If he wants to rise in the ranks, he will have to solve the consistency problems (and work on his stamina as well -- he was heaving HARD at the end of the Act 1 pas.)

The Act I pas, as a whole, was fine. I liked Hee Seo the best. Her dancing is not the grandest you will ever see. But clean, articulated dancing never goes out of fashion and her dancing was a pleasant surprise in this era of overarticulated everything. Hamrick was fine but unmemorable.

The Act II cygnettes were tight -- I was watching the feet and they were as one. In comparison, the Act II swans were less exciting.

Bashing the ABT female corps is virtually a religion these days but they were marvelous yesterday -- so unified. Whoever is drilling them (Susan Jones?) is doing a superb job because they were completely undifferentiated last night. I couldn't tell one swan from the other, which is how it should be in this ballet.

Surprisingly, I thought the male corps members were somewhat of a mess yesterday. Six guys would go up in the air at six different times and land at six different times -- yikes! That wasn't the end of things, either. There were bobbles and disunity everywhere. Not the finest hour for the ABT corps men, I'm afraid.

While I don't have the same issues with this production that others have, there are some things I would change. The fake swan in the Prologue is so cheesy and fake looking. The shorts the peasants wear in Act I are just as hideous-looking as they looked in 2004 (Sean Stewart, in particular, got the worst of it.) And the Odette-Siegfried jump off the cliff at the end is like something you would have seen in an episode of the 1960s soap Dark Shadows (and not in a good way.)

All told, though, I thought ABT gave a solid rendering of Swan Lake. I was heartened to see Michele Wiles project ballerina authority at long last and happy to see Stearns before he becomes the next in a long line of stellar ABT male principals.

Grade: B+

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I was at the last performance with Veronika Part as Odette and Gillian Murphy as Odile and Marcelo Gomes as Prince Siegfried. There was no explanation of the casting change.

That is strange. I've only seen the role split once at ABT, when J. Kent was ill. Kent did Odile (on the theory that Odile requires less stage time), and Dvorovenko did Odette. I hope Part is okay.

I can't shed light on what happened but, at the conclusion of the 1:00PM performance, I saw Murphy enter the stage door with Gomes and my immediate thought was, "Is something wrong with Part?"

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While I don't have the same issues with this production that others have, there are some things I would change. The fake swan in the Prologue is so cheesy and fake looking. The shorts the peasants wear in Act I are just as hideous-looking as they looked in 2004 (Sean Stewart, in particular, got the worst of it.) And the Odette-Siegfried jump off the cliff at the end is like something you would have seen in an epsiode of the 1960s soap Dark Shadows (and not in a good way.)

I completely agree!

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Off Topic: Does anyone know what the following expression means?

"No Dust, No Feathers"

or is it

"No Down, No Feathers"

Nyee pukhah, nyee perah - No down, no feathers

to my understanding, it is an old Russian hunting saying. My husband explained that literally it is like saying break a leg, because one would translate it as saying I hope you fail. Instead of saying thanks, you respond by saying "K chortu," which means "Go to hell."

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Off Topic: Does anyone know what the following expression means?

"No Dust, No Feathers"

or is it

"No Down, No Feathers"

Apparently no one knows, since you've already asked the question twice before and drawn no response.

Thank you very much, Fraildove. :) I have rarely been so happy to have been proven wrong. :)

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She wears Gaynor-Mindens. Google it, and you'll see that a lot of audience members complain that Gaynor-Mindens look clunkier than other makes. So why do dancers wear them? Many say they improve balance. Also, they are much more durable and quieter.

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I found these excerpts from a Wiles/Stearns performance. Cory seems to be sort of expressionless in certain parts of the video excerpt -- almost stoic in his facial expression and with no expressiveness to his body language. Again, I can't evaluate anything meaningfully based on youtube, but that's what it vaguely seems to be like.

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