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Swan Lake-Spring 2014


California

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I am so happy to read all these accolades for Veronika Part....I have been watching her since 1999 when she was a soloist with the Mariinsky ---I saw her Odette for the first time in 2005 and go back every year to see it again (she missed one year!) I loved that first magical performance with Gomes, but I am so pleased that her partnership with Cory Stearns has matured...he partnered her beautifully on Wednesday and I loved those three high lifts in the Black Swan PDD.---and I really do not think Stearns was a 'dull' prince---I thought he was a pensive one.

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There is so much criticism for Semionova and so much praise for Seo that I wonder how those who saw the two performances would rate them.

Was Semionova worse?

I am not a little concerned that the management will continue down the slippery path of promoting for political reasons rather than merit and talent.

Especially if we the public buys it because we are to nice to point to the obvious.

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I haven't seen the full version of Hee Seo's SL, but I can tell you that Semionova's Act III was about a thousand times better than Seo's Monday evening performance. Semionova was in complete control of her technique - flawless triple fouettes, flawless unsupported balance held for a long time without any drooping of the leg in arabesque, and a completely winning characterization. I thought Semionova's Act II was gorgeous, with deep back bends and fluid upper body movement. I dread to think who will partner Semionova on Sat afternoon if Hallberg is out. Can the MVP Gomes do a third SL in one week? Probably not. I have this sinking feeling that Stearns will end up as her partner, and someone else (Hammoudi or Mathews) will fill in as Purple Rothbart.

By the way, Hammoudi did not even attempt to go onto demi pointe when he did his arabesque last night. I didn't think he was the least bit menacing.

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The replacement slip said Hallbeg is injured. Lots of casting changes probably on tap for next week.

No casting listed for Australia yet, but if it turns out that Copeland is getting a SL but not Lane, that will be a complete travesty.

Gillian just tweeted that she will be doing SL in Australia, too. But there are a lot of performances to cast!

I was already excited for @ABTBallet tour @QPAC (& dancing Swan Lake again!), but now I also can't wait 2 C @mistyonpointe's Odette/Odile!

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I have mixed feelings about Semionova from last night. I have never seen her dance SL before so I can't compare this w/ her performances in the past, but I thought her Odette was great from a technical stand point (with gorgeous arms) but I didn't see enough emotion and yearning from her. Her Odile was much better and in fact terrific - rock solid technique and unlike some I loved her fouettes. Her characterization was great as well, and as a character I felt she was in complete control of the ballroom and Siegfried. But, I thought she had a hard time getting back into Odette-mode after Odile. She and Gomes are a very good match; I think Gomes pulls some drama out of her (that switcheroo with Hallberg was ideal, albeit it was done because of an injury; Semionova and Hallberg are a good partnership on paper only). Gomes, as usual, was fantastic. I love how he goes for strong, secure and clean technique rather than trying for tricks or doing "more" of anything. I don't think he's capable of the same tricks as Simkin and even Cornejo anyway, but I really respect that he clearly knows his limits and understands the value and beauty of clean technique instead of trying for more difficult jumps and botching them (as I've seen plenty of dancers do). He doesn't need them anyway!

One of these days I must get to see Part do SL, but with all of the matinees she gets it's been nearly impossible.

Hammoudi was ok but not commanding at all. I kept thinking of Matthews the entire time - I last saw him as von Rothbart and remember how he held the audience with his menacing gaze. His jumps were explosive; Hammoudi barely got off of the ground.

The four little swans were excellent and in sync. Lane really stood out for me even when she was dancing with the rest of the corps. Her upper body and arms had an exceptional luxuriousness to them and her technique is always beautiful and strong (stronger than a few of the principals!). Despite the few new roles she's been getting, I feel she has grown and developed her artistry so much over the past year or so. It really will be a crime beyond reason if she doesn't get an O/O but Copeland does in Australia.

The pas de trois was sufficient - Teuscher was quite lovely and the better of the three. I have been rooting for Shevchenko for years, but last night she looked very tired and lacked stamina. Her jumps were very low and near the end she was clearly running out of gas. She's danced so much better in the past. Hoven held his own, but it killed me to see Gorak in the back dressed as peasant watching the PDT. I too was hoping Gorak, Lane and Kajija (or Abrera) were going to be dancing.

Bad news for Hallberg - another injury? It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the season shakes out (and if Murphy is still injured, what'll happen to the Dream?).

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I am so happy to read all these accolades for Veronika Part....I have been watching her since 1999 when she was a soloist with the Mariinsky ---I saw her Odette for the first time in 2005 and go back every year to see it again (she missed one year!) I loved that first magical performance with Gomes, but I am so pleased that her partnership with Cory Stearns has matured...he partnered her beautifully on Wednesday and I loved those three high lifts in the Black Swan PDD.---and I really do not think Stearns was a 'dull' prince---I thought he was a pensive one.

Thank you, thank you, atm711, for characterizing Stearns as "pensive." I think you've hit the nail on the head, at least for me, as I watched him in yesterday's matinee. And "pensive" doesn't play to the crowd. I remember him as "pensive" in Onegin, as well, when people were disappointed in his acting. And, although I'm repeating myself, he partnered Part as if she were a world treasure and deserved every attention he could give her, including those fabulous lifts in Act III.

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"Pensive" only really works in Act I, though. Acts II through IV require a range of other modes, and Cory lacked the necessary complexity and variety of characterization, in my eyes. While "playing to the crowd" can certainly be taken to an extreme, the fact remains that there is a crowd, and communication has to happen for a performance to be fully successful.

That said, I completely agree with angelica regarding Cory's beautifully proportioned body, beautiful line, and handsome visage.

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Perhaps I was being unduly harsh on Stearns, but I think my disappointment in yesterday's performance was all the greater because he has become such a beautiful dancer. In the space of a few years, he has grown from seeming quite unfinished to becoming an elegant, understated dancer who very much reminds me of Gomes at his best. His line and body are, as angelica mentioned, beautiful. His face is model-perfect but not one that reads well in the theater. I think dancers like Gomes, Kent, Part, Abrera, and Vishneva have the sort of facial features that read well in a big house. Makarova and Ferri, while perhaps not conventionally pretty, fall into that same category. On the other hand, I think dancers like Stearns, Murphy, Boylston and perhaps even Osipova have to work a bit harder to convey expression in their faces.

Stearns deserves a lot of credit for his refined dancing and his impeccable partnering of Part. As mentioned by others, he made the overhead lifts look just as they should, which is almost never the case in a Part Swan Lake. If he can find a way to convey something more of the inner life of his characters, then he will truly be a tour de force. I am definitely in support of restrained, subtle interpretations over histrionics and cliched gestures/expressions.

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Wendy Perron of Dance Magazine just tweeted that Misty Copeland will do O/O on the Australian tour. What roles has she done in NYC this season in SL? Anything other than the four little swans? Any BAers in Australia?

As I haven't seen any SLs in New York this year, I'm still curious what roles she has had.

Hi California. Misty's roles in SL have been her usual ones- peasant pas, 4 little swans and one of the princesses in Act III. She certainly has not been cast as O/O. I wonder if a number of ABT's dancers (like Semionova) have opted out of the Australia tour, leaving them short of an O/O. The timing is right when most people take vacations - end of August.

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fondoffouettes, I think you're on to something regarding Stearn's visage, handsome though it is. I was in Row A of the Dress Circle and always have my binocs at the ready. At one point I wondered if Stearns had on stage make-up because his expression simply wasn't reading that far away. I looked in my glasses and it seemed as if he was made up very "naturally". Could he be helped by something more dramatic to make the eyes pop? Of course the emotion must come from within but it might help.

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With 9 SLs in Australia and some principals missing, this would be a golden opportunity to give some soloists a chance -- Lane, e.g. I can't imagine that Vishneva or Cojocaru will join the tour. Copeland made her company debut in Coppelia in the Abu Dhabi engagement, although she had already been announced for the Met season by then, too. Perhaps an out-of-country debut is a good way for some to shake their nerves before trying this in NYC. It's interesting that word about Copeland leaked out early (as it also did for her Coppelia). Mmm...wonder who leaked it!

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Did anyone notice that the back of Part's white SL tutu had a huge makeup stain. Surprised that they would send out someone in such a filthy garment. Is it possible that a pre-show attempt at a lift caused a goodly amount of Cory's stage makeup to end up on the back of Part's costume? (Semionova was wearing a completely different tutu than the one Part wore.)

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Casting update. ABT website indicates that Hee and Roberto will dance on Friday evening AND Sat evening. Hallberg still listed w. Semionova for Sat matinee. What happened to the Cojocaru-Cornejo SL!!!!!

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Radetsky hasn't performed in two weeks. He's been replaced at every performance he was scheduled for, so his absence is not a surprise.

Is it possible that Cojocaru Cornejo might get switched into the Sat matinee?

No definitive info on what was on the back of Part's tutu, but it was a bit distracting.

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Casting update. ABT website indicates that Hee and Roberto will dance on Friday evening AND Sat evening. Hallberg still listed w. Semionova for Sat matinee.

Is this even possible? I, too, saw it on the web site, but I've never known anyone to dance two Swan Lakes on successive nights. I doubt this is the final casting.

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Abatt, I think someone earlier in this thread said that the back of Part's tutu had a dark swatch that matched the black feathers in the rear of a white swan.

Now that would really be a story behind the story! Cory Stearns is described as bland and dull because his stage makeup came off on Veronika's tutu while they were practicing a lift right before curtain time? Where were the makeup people at the crucial moment?

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My negative opinion of Stearns' performance has nothing to do with makeup or lack thereof. It has to do with his lack of acting ability or engaement in communicating his story to the audience. If it were only as simple as a makeup job to solve his issue, that would be fantastic. Sadly, the problem runs much deeper.

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I was concerned that Gomes had three successive days in the schedule next week -- Tempest, Dream, Tempest. Brutal schedules for a lot of people at the close of the season!

I feel badly for Cornejo and Radetsky - both waited a long time to get roles where they could shine. Wasn't it just a few years ago that people were complaining that Cornejo should have a chance at the lead roles? And this is it for Radetsky.

Could Stearns or Whiteside partner Semionova Saturday? I have no idea about height, rehearsals, etc. Hammoudi or Matthews could take Aristocratic Rothbart.

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