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ABT To Unveil New Sleeping Beauty For 75th Anniversary


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Beauty (Jan 27-31) will follow right on the heels of the National Ballet of Canada's Winter's Tale (Jan 19-24), just as New York City Ballet (Mar 1-6) will move in right after the Mariinsky's Raymonda (Feb 23-28). This sort of scheduling could attract the potential ballet tourist.

http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/newseason/

For once I am glad I live in Philly and not NYC. Will definitely be attending all four of those! I am dying to see A Winter's Tale.

It really is a shame that ABT doesn't videotape more often. When was the last time they put out a DVD? Gillian Murphy had a picture of the Le Corsaire and The Dream DVDs on her instagram, but those were a long time ago. Is that the last time ABT videotaped anything?

As another stupid winter storm is heading towards me, I am so so jealous of the folks who get to see SB tonight in warm sunny California. I really hope it's as awesome as it looks.

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Actually, I was thinking the dates of these programs might have the opposite effect- ballet fatigue from too many performances programmed during the same time period. I'm not sure how much of the KC audience is made up of subscribers and local residents, but I think people may prefer to have their ballet performances more spread out over the course of the year. Also surprised that the KC has shoved so many of the ballet companies into slots in the dead of winter. I know DC winters may not be as brutal as other cities in the Northeast, but still...

Well presumably it wasn't necessarily "shoving" in all cases, but accommodating them when they're available and not dancing back home.

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Just a note that many of Ratmansky's productions take some time to get into the bones of his dancer and that it's unlikely opening night will be set in stone: it's more like to be a work in progress, as least as far as details and timing are concerned.

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Premier starts in less than 3 hours. It's killing me I am here but not there. I'll be waiting with bated breath for members' reviews.

Well, it's 1:30AM on the West Coast. The premiere performance is over and the gala patrons must be basking in the glow of the after-party. Now we just need the reports and maybe a 'sneaky photo' or two! (Wink)

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Just to get us started, here's the biggies for opening night casting:

Aurora / Desire : Vishneva / Gomes

Lilac: V. Part

Carabosse: Nancy Raffa

Florestan / Queen: V. Barbee / T. Ratmansky

Catalabutte: A. Agoudine

Fairies:

Candide (Sincerity): D. Teuscher

Fleur de farine (Wheat Fairy): M. Copeland

Miettte qui tombent (Breadcrumb): S. Lane

Canari qui chante (Canary): S. Brandt

Violente (Temperament): S. Abrera

Suitors: Hammoudi, Forster, Hoven, Zurbin

Galifron, Prince's Tutor: C. Salstein

Countess: Leanne Underwood

Precious Stones:

Diamond: I. Boylston

Gold: S. Williams

Silver: L. Post

Sapphire: M. Hamrick

White Cat / Puss in Boots: Isadora Loyola / Sean Stewart

Florine / Bluebird: C. Trenary (wow what a discovery for me) / Simkin

Lil Red and Wolf: Adrienna Schulte / P Ogle

Cinderella / Prince Fortune: Gemma Bond / S. Baca (yes they do their actual variation)

Ogre / Ogress / Hop-on-my-thumb (and brothers): R. Bowman / B. Travis / area students (they also do their variation)

Bluebeard / Ariana: L. Estrada / D. Clemente

Porcelain Princesses: B. Geoghegan L. Higgins

Mandarin: K. Kodama

Scheherazade: L. Miller

Shah and his brother: R. Thierry / I. Ochoa

Plus what seemed to be an infinite supply of corps dancers, extras, and dancing children.

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I don't think I have it in me to do a big review but here are my overall impressions (and if you have a question, I'm happy to try to answer):

- The costumes are gorgeous. Really. I've never seen an ABT production where people were compelled to applaud a dress (or the woman stuck wearing the dress--poor Tatiana Ratmansky; it looked so heavy), but the people did. It was hard to focus on the dancing whenever someone new came on the stage as I had to get the binocs out to see all the costuming details.

- There is a clear turn away from the way today's dancers perform "classical ballets". Low passes (very few done at the actual knee), chainee turns on demi-pointe (making it revelatory when Aurora ends her 3rd act solo with chainees on full pointe), saute arabesques with softly bent knees and low legs (for all--men and women), back foot on demi-pointe when standing in B plus (rather than arched over--even the bows are done like this). Soft soft soft, pose pose pose seems the mantra, which is what makes it jarring when a dancer isn't able to quite do this. Which leads me to my next point...

- How/why this production was made for a company that imports a lot of its "star" dancers is very unclear to me. The grand pas de deux is vastly different from the text we are used to, and vastly different from even the 1890 Mariinsky recon (I watched this morning for verification). A dancer has to completely subsume all the training and style they are used to in order to blend into this production. I don't see how it comes with a few short rehearsals. Does this indicate a shift in casting? Doubtful--isn't Osipova cast in this for one performance at the Met?

- Vishneva acted her butt off through the Rose Adagio which I've never really seen someone manage (since they are usually gripping for dear life); she had a whole storyline of surprise and playfulness at being the center of attention: one moment totally serene, the next unable to help herself from a quick stealing smile to her parents. Both she and V. Part often danced (and Part mimed) with a mischievous, playful twinkle in their eyes and I don't know, yet, whether this is the dictate for the production or just how they decided to play it. Part is the quintessential Lilac Fairy for me (though she had some trouble with a pirouette in her solo), and she has a warmth, grace, and humor that shines through (Desire to her: what do I do to wake this girl up? Lilac: think you stupid boy! [big sly grin])

- Other Stand-outs: Cassandra Trenary--wow, wow, wow. Not sure if I've seen her dance (certainly not in a solo), but she was fantastic. I'd love to see her paired with Cornejo (since she's small enough to dance with Simkin) in some classics. Could easily see her as Aurora. Lauren Post as the Silver Fairy--so precise and on form. Stella Abrera as a sterner-than-usual Violent. V. Part's giant feather headdress for Act 1 onward. The Hop-on-my-thumbs kids, what they lack in accuracy is made up for in attitude. Nancy Raffa (though the weird long fingers look a little floppy and might be best left off the costume). The sheer number of people packed onstage for the Garland Waltz.

edited to add: Vishneva's wig in the 3rd act was so, so, so terrible. Put on totally poorly; I hope they figure it out. No one else seemed to have such a bad wig application. Really heinous, especially on the opening night when these things are still in mint condition.

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ksk04: Do you know who these dancers you listed are-for bluebird, porcelain princess (and down that list), as they are not with ABT so am just curious. Were these dancing roles? Young/old?

They did a little walk-stylized movement around in the entrada and apotheosis, but no real dancing. They could have been older dance students, perhaps? I didn't recognize their names either, but they are listed individually on the casting sheet so I wanted to include them in case I wasn't up to date on the apprentices/etc.

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I don't think I have it in me to do a big review but here are my overall impressions (and if you have a question, I'm happy to try to answer):

That's enough to make my mouth water! Thank you so much for posting, and can't wait to hear more from you and all others who were there.

BTW how long did the performance end up lasting? Did it come in at 3 hours? It sounds like there was a LOT of dancing.

ETA: Also, how did the longer tutus look in motion? I always wondered if they would flop around or look ungainly to eyes accustomed to the pancake style.

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I don't think I have it in me to do a big review but here are my overall impressions (and if you have a question, I'm happy to try to answer):

That's enough to make my mouth water! Thank you so much for posting, and can't wait to hear more from you and all others who were there.

BTW how long did the performance end up lasting? Did it come in at 3 hours? It sounds like there was a LOT of dancing.

I had to leave after the first round of bows (before individual ones front-of-the-curtain ones, I assume) and it was ~10:35 when I walked out with a 7:30 start time. Notably, I did not see McKenzie come out on stage; though again, I left a bit early. I thought he would have been out after the creative team (Ratmanksy, Hudson, etc.) took theirs. So someone correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Pleasantly, I think the third act was sped along by the fact that there wasn't a stop for bows after each variation (except during the two big pdd to allow the dancers to catch their breath).

edit to add about the tutus: They weren't particularly floppy as they appear quite heavy and weighed down. But there's very little extreme movement, I think, with an eye toward that. I think I only saw the "bloomers"/crotch of a tutu a handful of times throughout the night, really.

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Thank you so much for the report! And thank you for offering to answer our questions.

The grand pas de deux is vastly different from the text we are used to, and vastly different from even the 1890 Mariinsky recon (I watched this morning for verification).

Was the pas de deux similar to what Doug Fullington presented with dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Guggenheim? (Starting about 1:05:30).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=6xpOVN3cfGc#t=3931

I'm also curious whether the "long" or "short" version of the Bluebird's variation was used.

Stylistically, what you describe sounds similar to what Ratmansky did with Paquita with the Bavarian State Ballet, a company just as mongrelized as ABT. I found it to be very beautiful. It seems to me that if dancers are expected to replicate at least a semlance of Bournonville style, Balanchine style, Ashton style and even McGregor style, they should be able to do proper Petipa style. Ratmansky reminds us that Petipa ≠ Vaganova, and if part-time principals have to put in more rehearsal time with ABT in order to fit in to the production, so much the better.

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