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Swan Lake-Spring 2014


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I doubt that Roberto wants to lift Part. Seo will be much easier for him to lift.

That could be the case. Let's not forget the time Bolle bailed on Part in Swan Lake to go dance the naked Giselle in Italy.

It was nice to see, though, that he has posted two ravishing photos of himself and Part in SL on his instagram account within the past month. He must at least appreciate how beautiful they look together in that ballet.

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I have a ticket to the Saturday matinee and I hope Stearns gets his act together by then. I remember seeing him in Romeo and Juliet last year where he basically sleep danced his way through the ballet until the balcony pdd. From that point on he got more and more into the ballet. I figured maybe someone gave him a stern talking to backstage. In 2010 I saw Stearns in The Dream (with Reyes and Simkin). Stearns was really wonderful. He reminded me of a young Antony Dowell in the role (which I saw on film.) Hopefully that Stearns will show up tomorrow and next week.

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What I'm wondering (among many other things, of course) is why they took Cornejo out of Swan Lake tonight. He's still set to dance The Dream Monday night. If Cojocaru for whatever reason bailed out of Swan Lake, couldn't they have put in Isabella Boylston to dance with Cornejo? If she is a fit with Simkin, surely Cornejo also can dance with her. I'm not sure actually that I've ever seen Cornejo and Boylston paired, but it seems reasonable size-wise. On the other hand, in the absence of Cojocaru and Cornejo, the ideal replacement would involve Veronika Part.

I agree about Part. I was never in the Part camp and in fact haven't seen her dance for several years BUT she is a real ballerina with something to say. Also, from what I've read here some of the technical issues that I used to find so jarring have been resolved. I would have been happy with Part.

I bought a ticket for Cojocaru even though it doesn't seem an ideal role for her, but she is so musical and has such imagination that I knew she'd make me see SL in a new way.

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Here is Cojocaru dancing while it rains !

What a great setting against the lake,,,

I've never found Cojocaru's dancing to my taste, but this video kind of makes me want to see her in Swan Lake. I agree with vipa above, I think she'd do some potentially interesting things with the role. Too bad she never dances it in New York!

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Cornejo and Boylston would have been a good solution for tonight. I'll be very interested to hear how Seo does on Saturday night following Friday.

At this point, I suppose it's too late to teach someone else Oberon and Prospero (but there should be an understudy or two), but Stearns doesn't have enough stamina for all that he's booked for now with Hallberg out.

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Hallberg was out for the entire season two years ago due to injury. He had a significantly reduced schedule last season because he was coming off his injury. (A number of his scheduled appearances were re assigned to others last season). And now this season he lasted through 4 shows. Time for McKenzie to find another tall guy who can partner to fill out the roster, because Hallberg seems to be plagued with injury issues every season. I know Whiteside is not universally loved on this board, but he fills an important role. ABT needs another guy like him. Hamoudi was supposed to be the next tall partner who could do lead roles, but that hope has not been fulfilled. Not sure it ever will be either.

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I don't understand the Cornejo SL issue either and why he couldn't have been paired with Boylston (or Reyes? don't know if she does this role) He's still listed (as is Murphy) for the Monday and Wednesday Dream. I haven't seen Cory in a spring season for a few years and now I'm getting a boatload. I won't exchange my Sat matinee since I'm going with a friend but will advise her to expect beautiful dancing without emotion. The highlight for me will be another purple Von Rothbart from Matthews, who I now realize I will miss very much. This will be my first year without a Hallberg performance in many years (not counting the spring he was out entirely) - he is the one I seek out - I'm beyond disappointed. My Bolshoi SL on the Sat matinee was not a Hallberg performance anyway. Heavy sigh....

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Hallberg is out and Cornejo has been out...it is not, as seems to be assumed by those on this board, Cojocaru who "bailed." Last year she was out, and gave advance notice that she would be out, because of a broken foot. This year she has done an incredible number of shows throughout the world and has not missed even one. Bolle had rehearsed with Seo for Saturdays show...maybe one should ask whether he could/should have stepped in and danced with Cojocaru on Friday.

For those who have not seen it Alina's Swan is extraordinary. She has a melting Odette and a strong, sensual Odile. Hoping for next year......

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In terms of fairness, Boylston is still a soloist. It may be more appropriate to have principals fill in on short notice for multiple shows over a short period of time.

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Hallberg is out and Cornejo has been out...it is not, as seems to be assumed by those on this board, Cojocaru who "bailed." Last year she wqs out, and gave advance notice that she would be out, because of a broken foot. This year she has done an incredible number of shows throughout the world and has not missed even one. Bolle had rehearsed with Seo for Saturdays show...maybe one should ask whether he could/should have stepped in and danced with Cojocaru on Friday.

For those who have not seen it Alina's Swan is extraordinary. She has a melting Odette and a strong, sensual Odile. Hoping for next year......

How do we know whether Bolle in fact would have been more than happy to dance with Alina. She is certainly light and easy to lift. What's the basis for the assumption Alina's cancellation was due to some factor other than Alina's own decision not to appear tonight? Maybe McKenzie or Alina should reach out and explain the situation. There will be 2,000 or so fans of Alina's in the audience tonight who would certainly appreciate a reasonable explanation. Social media provides an easy method for the communication of such information, if there is a desire to provide it.

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Hallberg just posted an apologetic Tweet:


To everyone who bought tickets to my shows this week & next my sincerest apologies. Did something minor last week & must rest the hoof. Xo

Nothing yet from Kobborg or Cojocaru, although Kobborg did say a few days ago that he had a grueling two-day journey from New Zealand back to Bucharest.

Edited by California
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Has Alina ever danced with any of the ABT men except Cornejo and Hallberg? We know that Hallberg is out for the rest of the season. We know that Cornejo has been out since Saturday with an unspecified illness/injury (per the program slip). Perhaps ABT was hoping Cornejo was sufficiently healed to dance tonight, and that didn't happen. I'm so bummed to be deprived of Alina's O/O yet again but I wouldn't blame her for not wanting to dance with an unfamiliar partner on short notice.

Hope they're prepping someone for Puck next week...

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The ABT's Swan Lake casting problems are compounded by the Purple Rothbart issue. The production was designed at a time when the ABT had so many strong male principals that they felt the need to give Purple Rothbart a showy if unnecessary solo. Now they barely have enough dancers to fill in for Siegfried, and they still have to cast Purple Rothbart, so people who in a more traditional SL could have just been slotted into Siegfried (Jared Matthews, James Whiteside) have to dance PR.

My how times have changed.

ETA: Alina Cojocaru danced with Carreno and Corella. Both retired.

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When Casey Herd guested at PNB to partner Carrie Imler in "Swan Lake," he was injured, and he dropped the Prince's Act I solo. (Batkhurel Bold danced Act III.) Is there any reason they couldn't drop the Purple Rothbart solo, if they are concerned about casting/teaching someone at the last minute? It would give a good opportunity for someone in the lower ranks to get most of the part under his belt, and it's not like they'd be dropping the White Swan PDD.

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I did see Thursday night's "Swan Lake". It was a really fine performance and demonstrates the wisdom of letting young dancers stretch their range in demanding roles. Both Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin might be considered cast against type here. Boylston is a nervy, young allegro technician not known for lyrical adagio stressing upper body or tragic roles (yet). Simkin has made a name as a whiz kid demi-caractere virtuoso trickster with circus acrobatic jumps and split leaps. There have been complaints that Boylston has sloppy posture, clumsy use of arms and hands and lacks port de bras despite the strong technique in turns and footwork below the waist. Simkin has been accused of being too boyish, elfin and odd looking to play a prince and always seems to be dancing in a ballet competition by and for himself.

Well in "Swan Lake" you can't get away with any of that and to their credit, Boylston and Simkin really worked to refine their artistry and technique. This is an example where really good coaching helps the dancer and the company. Odette requires very specific and codified movements of the arms, back, neck and hands - Boylston clearly was carefully coached in the traditional port de bras and epaulement and she looked like a different, softer, more elegant ballerina. I know she coached with Susan Jaffe and Kolpakova has been working with her lately and it shows. As of now, Boylston's face doesn't have the emotional longing and sorrow of a Makarova or Part. But her body and dancing create the necessary images - she is more abstract than dramatic in the role but it works well. Her Odile I had more problems with occasionally though it would seem to be her natural role. There were some sharp staccato accents in splits and supported turns that looked too jerky and show-offy lacking seductive plié stretch and softness. Simkin's partnering was expert in Act II's white act adagio (good overhead lifts) but had a few shaky moments in the Black Swan PDD where Isabella went off center in supported pirouettes and some jerky releases.

Simkin also is going for a finished classical line. He points his feet, extends the working leg elegantly and finishes his turns softly as are the descents from jumps. His Siegfried is a youthful, introverted teenager - sheltered and not confident until he falls in love. There is a poetic quality - he is not as royally authoritative as Gomes or Bolle - more of a impressionable child-man but it works. His acting is understated but makes its mark.

James Whiteside danced with good attack and strong technique as Purple Rothbart. He got a big hand for his "Russian Dance" solo. The pas de trois was the "A" team of Joseph Gorak, Sarah Lane and Yuriko Kajiya. They almost rivaled the "A" team of a decade ago of Herman and Erica Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes. Gorak, as Macauley stated in his NYT "Giselle" review, looked like another prince on that stage. His feet are always stunningly beautiful and he finished his steps precisely. No problems in Act III's pas de trois for him either. Lane was enchanting and strong and Kajiya had a gentle sparkle. The whole production seems to have come together nicely since Monday with good corps work and solos. The woman next to me - a traveler from abroad - asked me if the production was new. I said that ABT has been doing it since 2000 but maybe it was the young cast that made it seem so fresh.

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When Casey Herd guested at PNB to partner Carrie Imler in "Swan Lake," he was injured, and he dropped the Prince's Act I solo. (Batkhurel Bold danced Act III.) Is there any reason they couldn't drop the Purple Rothbart solo, if they are concerned about casting/teaching someone at the last minute? It would give a good opportunity for someone in the lower ranks to get most of the part under his belt, and it's not like they'd be dropping the White Swan PDD.

ABT is like really stubborn about not dropping the PR solo, and also really stubborn that PR has to be danced by "stars." I mean it was still insisting a couple weeks ago that Marcelo Gomes dance PR. I agree that since PR is a short part, it would make more sense to give it to an up-and-coming corps member who could learn it quickly (Luis Ribagorda, for example) and then let the "star" PR's dance the more important role of Siegfried. But that would be breaking this very odd pecking order/totem pole thing that Kevin McKenzie seems to have in place which isn't really understood by anyone except for, well, Kevin McKenzie.

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Hallberg just posted an apologetic Tweet:

To everyone who bought tickets to my shows this week & next my sincerest apologies. Did something minor last week & must rest the hoof. Xo

Nothing yet from Kobborg or Cojocaru, although Kobborg did say a few days ago that he had a grueling two-day journey from New Zealand back to Bucharest.

Must rest the hoof for the big Bolshoi season coming up... humph

wasn't there supposedly a stipulation in their contracts that they couldn't perform with other groups that were performing in NY within X weeks of the Met Season?

He skipped out on 1/2 of the season to be with Bolshoi - it's 100% obvious where his loyalty/priorities lie.

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The ABT's Swan Lake casting problems are compounded by the Purple Rothbart issue. The production was designed at a time when the ABT had so many strong male principals that they felt the need to give Purple Rothbart a showy if unnecessary solo. Now they barely have enough dancers to fill in for Siegfried, and they still have to cast Purple Rothbart, so people who in a more traditional SL could have just been slotted into Siegfried (Jared Matthews, James Whiteside) have to dance PR.

That is such a good point.

But, ABT needs to get with it and make some adjustments. Time to let go of PR being another star vehicle. Modify the choreography if needed so a dancer with great dramatic ability (i.e. Roman Zhurbin) who may not be of equal technical brilliance, can perform the role.

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