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Sleeping Beauty


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I felt that her balances were very brief in the Rose Adagio, and she came down off the last one almost immediately. It may be that she's still recovering, but I'm commenting on what I saw, not saying that there's no reason for it. (If one does that, where does one stop? "It's her first time in the role"? "He's getting old"?)

That being said, I did wonder if it was the partnering, because she seemed steadier doing unsupported balances - almost as if it was, "Look, just let me do this by myself. Don't help!"

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However, I felt that both Cojocaru and Osipova showed why they are top international ballerinas but both are capable of better Auroras. They would need a better production - and one with which Cojocaru is more familiar, better rehearsed and in tune with her colleagues. Osipova showed much of what she is capable of but missed details and seemed nervous. Osipova was nervous and tentative in places because she is new to the role, Cojocaru because she is new to this production and colleagues. I hope to see both again in New York soon. I hope both get to do this role again and Giselle in the future at ABT.

I am wondering if this is why Diana Vishneva did not dance Aurora during this season. This ABT production must really be a let down after the Mariinsky version which she did back in February in Washington DC.

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Ceeszi, Diana Vishneva danced one performance of Aurora in this ABT production in its first, disastrous season in 2007. She immediately "fell ill" and canceled her scheduled second appearance and was replaced by Paloma Herrera. BTW: she danced well that night, I was there. She did not dance the role when the production returned for its second season in 2008.

Two things:

I was pleased with how classical and restrained Osipova was as Aurora. No 180 degree extensions or flashy additions - just lovely poised dancing especially in Acts II and III.

Also, a friend who went to all the performances had glowing reports of Xiomara Reyes as Aurora on Friday night. He said she had the most perfect execution of the choreography of any of the ballerinas including Gillian Murphy and Cojocaru.

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I also was there on Friday (Reyes) and Saturday matinee (Cojocaru) and evening (Osipova). I agree that Xiomara was the best all-around.

I note with some amusement that Macaulay is correct about Cojocaru's acting - he just doesn't realize what he's said! He speaks of her acting being remarkable - displaying wonder, etc. - during Act One. But he agrees that it wasn't appropriate to Acts Two and Three. Exactly. She doesn't have range. She has the ability to do one thing. When it fits, as in Act One, it has the desired effect. When it doesn't, she doesn't have any other expression to use.

To borrow from the Monty Python sketch where they're interviewing a famous actor "the most difficult is being in love--you know, that openmouthed, vacant look that Vanessa Redgrave's got off to a tee".

Also, a friend who went to all the performances had glowing reports of Xiomara Reyes as Aurora on Friday night. He said she had the most perfect execution of the choreography of any of the ballerinas including Gillian Murphy and Cojocaru.
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I attended Osipova/Hallberg/Wiles performance.

In my opinion, Natalia, although dazzling, is just not Aurora. This is not her role, and it was clear after few minutes of watching her dance.

But I can not wait to see her Juliette.

The rest of it has already been said - Hallberg was perfect Prince, Simkin and Lane were highlight of the evening, upgraded production is still painful to watch.

I disagree. I think her debut in the role was quite impressive, and I think this is a perfect role for her. Granted, I would love to see her in a different production. (What the hell is going on onstage at the end of Act I after Aurora pricks her finger? The cast runs around in what can only be described as a traffic jam. I think even I could come up with a better staging of that scene, which says a lot. :D)

I also think that the last act would be improved by having the fairies dance solos rather than dancing together because they were all over the beat. I found it distracting.

Yes, the costumes are hideous.

Simkin and Lane were great. He was definitely the best bluebird. His landings were incredibly quiet although he didn't land in position like Cornejo and Hallberg do. I thought Rudetsky (on Friday with Reyes & Cornejo) started out well and had lovely height to his jumps, but his passage with the beats was disappointing.

I loved Hallberg. I admit I did not appreciate his dancing when he was first promoted to principal. I found his performances cool, but I think part of this is due to the fact that his fair features do not read well in such a large auditorium as the Met, especially if one is far from the stage. At any rate, after seeing him tear up the stage (for example in Le Corsaire), I thoroughly enjoy his dancing and marvel at his feet and his exquisite landings.

Wiles is always dependable, if not always exciting. I wish she would dance with abandon. She seems to do this as Myrthe in Giselle and also danced with incredible abandon and determination after she slipped during Swan Lake a year or two ago.

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I also was there on Friday (Reyes) and Saturday matinee (Cojocaru) and evening (Osipova). I agree that Xiomara was the best all-around.
Also, a friend who went to all the performances had glowing reports of Xiomara Reyes as Aurora on Friday night. He said she had the most perfect execution of the choreography of any of the ballerinas including Gillian Murphy and Cojocaru.

I saw Reyes and Cornejo only from the end of the 1st Act (a sort of perfect storm of events, which began that afternoon, prevented me from seeing the whole performance). I agree. Reyes was delightful, but I have always enjoyed her dancing. I find her to be one of the most musical dancers in the company. I have never seen Cornejo dance poorly.

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Alina Cojocaru has said in interviews that her career was nearly ended by a series of horrible injuries. She had a stress fracture in her foot that never really healed, then developed bunions so severe that I believe she has special shoes designed for her by Gaynor Minden. She also suffered a neck injury. The fact that she's still dancing so beautifully (and the fact that she still takes risks) is a miracle. When I saw her up close she was wearing orthopedic shoes, and I only recognize them because my friend who also has a severe foot injury wears the same type of shoes. Let's cut her some slack.

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Alina Cojocaru has said in interviews that her career was nearly ended by a series of horrible injuries. She had a stress fracture in her foot that never really healed, then developed bunions so severe that I believe she has special shoes designed for her by Gaynor Minden. She also suffered a neck injury. The fact that she's still dancing so beautifully (and the fact that she still takes risks) is a miracle. When I saw her up close she was wearing orthopedic shoes, and I only recognize them because my friend who also has a severe foot injury wears the same type of shoes. Let's cut her some slack.

Thank you, canbelto, for that information. Perhaps some people will take it into consideration.

Neither my husband or I noticed her pointe shoes, but if she has to wear pointe shoes of a particular shape in order to be able to give us her artistry, so be it. I guess those who are bothered by her shoes should avoid her performances. There are certain dancers that I avoid!

For me, I don't need to cut her slack because IMO her performance was great. Yes, some short balances in the Rose Adage with a slight mis-foot after the last balance (yes, it was a short balance), but she did manage to get her arms to fifth for each balance and over all she was in no way lacking in the technical department. Her balance at the end of the wedding pas was glorious (my husband said - she was saving it for her wedding - I know, a silly joke). She gave us balances, beautiful pointe work, phrasing, flowering port de bras, beautiful use of the head and neck, not to mention her characterization, acting and just, well beauty.

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Alina Cojocaru has said in interviews that her career was nearly ended by a series of horrible injuries. She had a stress fracture in her foot that never really healed, then developed bunions so severe that I believe she has special shoes designed for her by Gaynor Minden. She also suffered a neck injury. The fact that she's still dancing so beautifully (and the fact that she still takes risks) is a miracle. When I saw her up close she was wearing orthopedic shoes, and I only recognize them because my friend who also has a severe foot injury wears the same type of shoes. Let's cut her some slack.

Yes it's not just her toe boxes that look like that...that's what her feet look like inside too! It may not be the most picture perfect thing, but why would anyone wish more discomfort and damage to her by wishing her to wear smaller boxes. She would still have to cut the sides of a more tapered box to make room for her bunions and her feet would almost certainly rapidly deteriorate.

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Ever see a photograph of Anna Pavlova which had never passed through her own personal darkroom technique, and compared it to one which had? Best is to find a negative that she'd doctored. She must have had a good time with that black paint, making her toes look pin-pointy, sometimes to an unreasonable degree. In photos she hadn't controlled, the boxes on her shoes often look like sagging tube socks.

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I didn't see the performance on Saturday, but I did see the Royal Ballet video, and as long as she can use her feet as expressively as she did there, she can dance in clogs for all I care.

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Ever see a photograph of Anna Pavlova which had never passed through her own personal darkroom technique, and compared it to one which had? Best is to find a negative that she'd doctored. She must have had a good time with that black paint, making her toes look pin-pointy, sometimes to an unreasonable degree. In photos she hadn't controlled, the boxes on her shoes often look like sagging tube socks.

Or better yet, just look at the large, wide shadows on the pictures of her feet. They don't match the doctored toe-shoes at all. Not surprisingly, Anna Pavlova was known to hold her balances for an extreme length of time and rival ballerinas sniped that it was cheating, because of the type of shoe she wore.

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I also was there on Friday (Reyes) and Saturday matinee (Cojocaru) and evening (Osipova). I agree that Xiomara was the best all-around.
Also, a friend who went to all the performances had glowing reports of Xiomara Reyes as Aurora on Friday night. He said she had the most perfect execution of the choreography of any of the ballerinas including Gillian Murphy and Cojocaru.

I saw Reyes and Cornejo only from the end of the 1st Act (a sort of perfect storm of events, which began that afternoon, prevented me from seeing the whole performance). I agree. Reyes was delightful, but I have always enjoyed her dancing. I find her to be one of the most musical dancers in the company.

When ABT came over to Miami with this production in 07, I found Xiomara to be the best Aurora among Herrera, Kent and herself. I did not see Wiles that time...chose not to.

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Ooof I just don't get all this about shoes and balances.

I've seen both of Alina's pointe shoes (she wears Blochs and Gaynor Mindens), and I've seen her dance close-up. She has seriously. bad. feet. They are tiny, but really wide around a really horrific bunion. If you look at the shoe, it's actually a tapered/semi-tapered box with a wide forefoot for the bunions -- just like her feet are shaped. Rojo's are also somewhat tapered. Wearing a big, square platform does not help you balance if it does not support your foot! In fact, sliding around/down in that shoe makes it much worse, and painful, and downright dangerous. Most of these dancers have specially-made shoes to fit their feet like a glove... and please, let's not forget that there is technique involved in balancing -- not just shoes!

As for Alina's acting, my own impression after watching her for the past 7-8 years is that the more comfortable she is with a partner, the more developed her acting is. I feel this is true of most dancers though....

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In another topic post, there was mention of an ABT apprentice, Courtney Lavine, performing in the corps of "Sleeping Beauty" last weekend. This might be off topic (if so, I apologize and feel free to move/delete). But I am curious about ABT apprentices (how they are selected, how often do they perform, duration of their apprenticeship, etc.). Thanks

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On the Osipova/Hallberg SB, I agree with some members' observations (and the NYT article) that Osipova's Aurora is not as developed as her Kitri or Giselle (or her La Sylphide, for that matter). However, I thought her performance was strong overall with respect to technical aspects (except for the first set of "suitor" balances in the Rose Adagio -- see below) and character portrayal. For example, Osipova's back had flexibility (in contrast to the rigid, antiseptic way that Paloma Herrera always positions her back) and Osipova's body was flexible and expressive. Osipova conveyed the youth of Aurora in Act I, unlike Herrera who danced with no spring in her step and seemed almost robotic in some of her sequences.

In the Rose Adagio, some members have mentioned that Osipova did not raise her hands over her head. It should be noted that the Herrera SB performance of this year and a Wiles-as-Aurora SB from a prior year did not involve those Auroras raising their hands fully over their heads in the first balances like they do in the second balances. Both Herrera and Wiles did a sort of elongated lift of their hands in the first balances to a height where the hand was no higher than the shoulder. They sort of elegantly moved their hands/wrists when their hands were lifted more meaningfully in that way that was a lot prettier than the "barely lifting of her hand" move that Osipova did in the first balances. However, I don't fault Osipova for taking a safer approach in her inaugural SB.

In the second set of balances of the Rose Adagio, Osipova performed well. She was not extraordinary in terms of how long she kept her hand above her head before addressing the next suitor, but she calmly and steadily performed those balances well. If one didn't have sky-high expectations based on her being Osipova, one would have found her second balances very pretty indeed.

I really appreciated, among other sequences, Osipova's acting and dancing after she pricks her finger and falls into her deep sleep. Her facial expressions are very expressive, reminding me of how well I thought she did in her "going crazy" sequence in Giselle last year. She also showed well how the effects of the spindle prick were traveling through her body, and how disoriented she felt. The very fast way she moved when she danced in a little circle before she collapses into her sleep was nice too.

Nobody has yet mentioned how, during the Osipova SB, Misty Copeland, as a fairy, fell out of an en pointe position when she was linked by her hands with three other fairies in the portion of the ballet preceding Act I. At least one other fairy was en pointe at that point. Misty and this other fairy were in the middle of the four-fairy row which had a designated closing position for the sequence. Misty was en pointe for a very short time, then fell off it. The other fairy in the middle then also went off pointe to adjust to the problem.

I liked Wiles as the lilac fairy during the Osipova peformance. But I have always liked seeing Wiles and Hallberg together in full-length ballets. It's too bad for Wiles, from my perspective, that she may have lost her historically developing partnership with Hallberg at McKenzie's hands. Wiles isn't dancing with Hallberg as lead at all at any point during this Met season. From David's perspective, I guess it is a good thing because he can work with Vishneva in Swan Lake and with Osipova several times. :wink: Even though Wiles' performance is more technical and not particularly lyrical, Wiles was more believable as a fairy that could partially protect Aurora than Maria R, whose slight frame makes her look generally more fragile as lilac fairy for Herrera's SB.

Osipova and Hallberg came out for curtain calls three times. :lol:

I'm going to have the happiness of seeing all of Osipova's performances with the ABT this season: the Giselle PDD with Hallberg during the Opening Night Gala; the Don Quixote with Carreno; the Act III performance of Don Quixote with Carreno as part of the A Alonso celebration; the SB with Hallberg; and the upcoming Romeo and Juliet with Hallberg :) It of course helps that she is so frequently paired with Hallberg, but I enjoy watching her very much.

If one is interested in sampling champagnes, it should be noted that the bar on the Parterre level (one has to enter the accessway to Parterre before the bar is visible) has a better champagne selection than, say, the Revlon bar where the red Chagall mural is. At Parterre, one recently had a choice of: Veuve Clicquot Rose; Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label; Louise Roederer Brut; Taittinger Brut; Piper-Heidsieck Brut; and one more rose. The prices range from about $15 or $17, to $25. Different bar areas within the Metropolitan Opera may have different drink and food combinations. For example, the food portion of the Revlon Bar is where one can get sangrias during the ABT season and smoked salmon sandwiches. The Parterre bar does not carry food. So, going for the Parterre champagne selections usually means there is not enough time to also line up for the other bars' food.

Before the performance, I had a quick cheese plate at Bar Boulud across the street from Lincoln Center. A plateful of freshly shaved-off Jamon Iberico Bellota (acorn-fed Spanish patta negra/black pig ham) was tasty ($38). Bar Boulud frequently has a magnum of a different wine available by the glass every evening, available at least if one dines before the ballet performance. Sometimes the magnums are of wines that have a bit of age on them. I particularly like this feature of the restaurant and follow the restaurant on Twitter, where sometimes the magnum for the evening is announced.

Raylene:

I don't know about the ABT apprentice process, but I assume ABT II is one of the sources of supply for apprentices. All three current apprentices (April Giangeruso, Meaghan Hinkis and Courtney Lavine) from the ABT website have ABT II experience. One of the apprentices from last year and now a full corps member Jose Sebastian is also from ABT II (formerly referred to as ABT's Studio Company). As are dancers like Michele Wiles, Eric Tamm and Cory Stearns. Not all ABT II participants make ABT, but I think ABT likes to consider people from ABT II.

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Raylene:

I don't know about the ABT apprentice process, but I assume ABT II is one of the sources of supply for apprentices. All three current apprentices (April Giangeruso, Meaghan Hinkis and Courtney Lavine) from the ABT website have ABT II experience. One of the apprentices from last year and now a full corps member Jose Sebastian is also from ABT II (formerly referred to as ABT's Studio Company). As are dancers like Michele Wiles, Eric Tamm and Cory Stearns. Not all ABT II participants make ABT, but I think ABT likes to consider people from ABT II.

Also, Nicola Curry, Leanne Underwood, Nicole Graniero, Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster, Roman Zhurbin, Hee Seo also all came out of ABT II, I think. Not bad.

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Also, Nicola Curry, Leanne Underwood, Nicole Graniero, Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster, Roman Zhurbin, Hee Seo also all came out of ABT II, I think. Not bad.

Didn't Wiles come out of ABT II?

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Isabella Boylston was an apprentice at the same time as Nicole Graniero. And Katie Williams is ABT all the way - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, Studio Company and apprentice (for about 6 months).

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