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ABT 2015 Met season


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Jeopardy was on tonight, with the ABT portion coming about 19 minutes into the show. Unfortunately, it lasted only about 2 minutes and the questions were laughable easy for anyone who's been to the ballet.

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Supporting casting for the first 3 shows of Sleeping Beauty has been posted:

I believe it is:

Aurora

Prince

Lilac

Carabosse

Diamond Fairy

Bluebird

Princess Florine.

Except they switched the first night and it looks like Isabella Boylston is Blue Bird and Daniil Simkin is Diamond Fairy!

May 29

G. Murphy
M. Gomes
S. Abrera
C. Salstein
D. Simkin
I. Boylston
C. Trenary

May 30 mat

S. Lane
H. Cornejo
D. Teuscher
N. Raffa
S. Brandt
B. Hoven
S. Abrera

May 30 Eve:

H. Seo
C. Stearns
C. Shevchenko
M. Gomes
C. Trenary
J. Gorak
I. Boylston

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Fabulous first cast of SB! Not seeing Copeland's name as one of the Florines (Bluebird pdd) almost confirms that she will indeed be at the Bolshoi in Moscow for the Benois Prix galas. We'll have to wait until the 'second tranche' of SBs to see Misty's Florine.

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Brava to Stella for her opening night Lilac. Have they taken the part away from Part? Surprised she didn't get at least third cast. Maybe she's out of town that week?

So the big question for me now is whether I can sit through a Hee Seo/Cory Stearns SB in order to see Gomes as Carabosse.

PS Why is Simkin listed in the Diamond Fairy position for opening night?

PS Why is Hammoudi replacing Gomes in Cinderella as Murphy's partner. Love Murphy in this, Guess I'll have to close my eyes and imagine I'm seeing David Hallberg. So Hammoudi picks up yet another lead role. He will certainly be promoted this year.

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So the big question for me now is whether I can sit through a Hee Seo/Cory Stearns SB in order to see Gomes as Carabosse.

I thought they were pretty good in it in CA, Seo especially. I wasn't expecting much due to complaints about Seo's technique/stamina, but I would say certainly worth it based on what I saw.

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I saw Hee Seo in the godawful McKenzie/Kirkland "Sleeping Beauty" two or three seasons ago - she fell off pointe on all the balances in the Rose Adagio. However, I think the Ratmansky version with its lower arabesques and lower than 90 degree working leg in turns may actually work in her favor. The toning down of the acrobatic virtuosity that has accrued to the role of Aurora and the softer quasi-Romantic line that Ratmansky has rediscovered from the Harvard notes are more suitable to Seo's best qualities. Prince Desiré requires danseur noble bearing and not much acting - perfect for Cory. It was noted in California that Part struggled with the Lilac Fairy solo (though it is one of her great roles) and that perhaps may have been a factor as well in not presenting her on opening night.

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Thanks FauxPas, for your response.

I saw Hee Seo in the godawful McKenzie/Kirkland "Sleeping Beauty" two or three seasons ago - she fell off pointe on all the balances in the Rose Adagio.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I avoid Hee Seo in all classical ballets. But you're right, this production may be more suitable for her abilities.

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Just to give you an idea of who sells tickets at ABT and who does not, both of Hammoudi's Othellos are on TDF, as are the Giselles of Hee Seo, Boylston and Julie Kent. I'm a major balletomane, and I passed on every one of those performances, even at TDF prices.

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My ticket purchasing decisons rest on the woman playing Giselle. Frankly, I would definitely go see Bolle as Albrecht and Murphy as Myrta if they were cast with Giselles I was interested in seeing. Having seen Julie's altered version of Giselle either a year or two ago, I could not bring myself to return. Too many alterations, too much watered down footwork.

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Back from tonight's opening of the season. A really mixed bag: one disaster, one okay and one good. Not a good enough average for my $125 ticket.

The night started with Les Sylphides. This was tragic. Really terrible. Isabella Boylston managed to flub a step within the first 10 seconds (literally),of the ballet (and dead center downstage) while in the PDD section, Hee Seo fell backwards onto the floor on her butt. And these are ABT's newest principals? What a joke. The romantic, ethereal quality of the ballet was missing from everyone. The corps was messy, their arms scraggly (not beautifully rounded), no long necks, no epaulement. Boylston has a nice jump but her arms....? Yikes! They are an ugly mess, kind of neoclassical (but not even) with limp wrists and terribly shaped hands. Hee Seo has more quality to her dancing but clearly is very weak and her technique needs a lot of work. Thom Forster's jumps were heavy (and loud) and shaky. No one in my orchestra row (J) applauded any of the sections and gave the lightest of applause at the end.

Thankfully, the ship righted itself with Piillar of Fire. Gillian Murphy was wonderful as Hagar, emtionally and dramatically intense, my eyes were just riveted by her. Her technique is also still rock solid and her portrait of the forlorn, desperate sister was just fantastic. Stella Abrera showed the appropriate cold aloofness as the older sister while Casandra Trenary was spoiled and willful as the younger sister. I was surprised at how well Alexandre Hammoudi did as The Friend. Tall, elegant, long lines, technique, everything was there. And of course it was a pleasure to watch Marcelo Gomes as the Young Man from the House Opposite. Always dramatic and with stellar technique, watching him dance with Gillian was probably the highlight of my evening.

Fancy Free ended the night. It was fun and always is. But also a little disappointing. I have been watching this ballet for decades and little by little, details and nuances are getting lost. Also dancers match ups don't always work. Tonight Herman Cornejo, Cory Srearns and Marcelo were the sailors while Luciana Paris and Bella Boylston (again!) were the women. I love each of these men individually but they don't really look good together. Not only is Herman much shorter than the other two, his training is very obviously different. Herman gets all the details right (like the shoulder shrugs) but his energy seems too over the top and punchy. You can see he is just waiting to do something virtuosic to please the audience (I guess that would be splits). Cory as the middle sailor has vastly improved as a dancer since he made principal in 2011. Now he can hold my attention. His solo is the most restrained and slow of the three and it suits him. But he needs to learn to move his torso more, really move his whole body, not just his arms and legs. I love Marcelo but he was, I felt, not exuberant enough in the third solo. I wanted him to really swing those hips and look like he was sweeping a girl off her feet. As for the women, Luciana Paris was sassy and assertive as the woman with the red bag, who lets it get tossed around between the sailors. But Bella? She was just wooden. There were no overt mistakes (as in Sylphides) but she, too, has absolutely no idea how to move her torso. As a result, her PDD with Cory consisted of swinging her legs up in the air and that's it. Her character is supposed to be a little playful and certain details like leaning back from the newspaper she reads or, later, leaning in towards her sailor companion were utterly lost. This could be a better ballet than it is now. I know Jean-Pierre Frohlich staged it and I believe he was one of the original sailors. But he teaches at NYCB and it doesn't look like he spent much time at ABT. I suggest those want to see how this ballet should be performed (at least how it was done 25-30 years ago) watch it on YT (the entire ballet is on) with Joseph Duell, Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Kipling Houston, Lourdes Lopez and Stephanie Saland.

Edited by Amour
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Considering the scandalous interview with the ABT rep stating that they make more money with guest stars, I can only deduce that they don't care about the hometown dancers or their dancing skills. If they lack the necessary refinements that other dancers have at other companies, it only gives them the excuse to hire more guest/foreign dancers. There also has to be a Free Trade/H1B visa aspect to this mess as well. The guest dancers probably cost less than the American dancers. Even the supposed "stars". All the more incentive to let company dancers wither on the vine or substitute rotten fruit.

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Very mixed bag last night. First, the house looked to be only about half full. The Sylphides looked more like America's Regional Company, not America's National Company. Hee Seo seemed to trip over her own feet in the pdd section where she fell down. Boylston definitely has a very impressive jump, but there is so much more that needs finishing in her dancing. I wasn't sure if Bella's error was a partnering issue or was her mistake. Tom Forster landed all his jumps with a thud. Pillar was fantastic, and Murphy was riveting. No huge complaints about Fancy Free, except for Boylston, who had the pdd. Was this her debut in the role? She has no fluidity. Much too stiff. Having seen Tiler Peck across the plaza dazzle in this role, Bella did not measure up. All in all, not a great start to the season. No wonder these programs are selling badly.

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Considering the scandalous interview with the ABT rep stating that they make more money with guest stars, I can only deduce that they don't care about the hometown dancers or their dancing skills. If they lack the necessary refinements that other dancers have at other companies, it only gives them the excuse to hire more guest/foreign dancers. There also has to be a Free Trade/H1B visa aspect to this mess as well. The guest dancers probably cost less than the American dancers. Even the supposed "stars". All the more incentive to let company dancers wither on the vine or substitute rotten fruit.

Link please?

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Very mixed bag last night. First, the house looked to be only about half full. The Sylphides looked more like America's Regional Company, not America's National Company. Hee Seo seemed to trip over her own feet in the pdd section where she fell down. Boylston definitely has a very impressive jump, but there is so much more that needs finishing in her dancing. I wasn't sure if Bella's error was a partnering issue or was her mistake. Tom Forster landed all his jumps with a thud. Pillar was fantastic, and Murphy was riveting. No huge complaints about Fancy Free, except for Boylston, who had the pdd. Was this her debut in the role? She has no fluidity. Much too stiff. Having seen Tiler Peck across the plaza dazzle in this role, Bella did not measure up. All in all, not a great start to the season. No wonder these programs are selling badly.

This is the second post I've seen calling her "Bella".

Is this a new thing? I always find it a bit weird when we start calling dancers we don't know by their first names, but are we now giving them nicknames too or is this a common way to refer to her and I've just missed it until now....

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Link please?

There's no link, because it was removed from YouTube. But when it was available, it was discussed and summarized previously on this forum.

Re: "Bella" -- the recent NYT article on her noted that she goes by this nickname, at least among those who know her. I think the calling of dancers by their first names (or other nicknames) is a rather natural outcome of the sometimes intense feelings of connection their performances (both strong and not so strong) create among audiences. It's certainly nothing new and nothing unique to this forum. Obviously that's not a truly personal intimacy, but I don't think any disrespect is intended, in general.

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No huge complaints about Fancy Free, except for Boylston, who had the pdd. Was this her debut in the role? She has no fluidity. Much too stiff. Having seen Tiler Peck across the plaza dazzle in this role, Bella did not measure up. All in all, not a great start to the season. No wonder these programs are selling badly.

Boylston's done it before.

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A recent NY Times article about her mentioned that she likes to be called Bella.

With everyone being "followed" on Facebook, Twitter, etc., it seems we think we "know" these dancers. Social Media has erased any illusion of privacy. There's scant mystery about any of them any more. Personally, I find being "followed" in any form is a bit creepy.

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There's no link, because it was removed from YouTube. But when it was available, it was discussed and summarized previously on this forum.

Re: "Bella" -- the recent NYT article on her noted that she goes by this nickname, at least among those who know her. I think the calling of dancers by their first names (or other nicknames) is a rather natural outcome of the sometimes intense feelings of connection their performances (both strong and not so strong) create among audiences. It's certainly nothing new and nothing unique to this forum. Obviously that's not a truly personal intimacy, but I don't think any disrespect is intended, in general.

Ah I missed that article about her, so it was new to me. It thus appeared suddenly in 2 reviews here which were pretty scathing, and therefore was somewhat jarring. Thanks for the explanation.

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With everyone being "followed" on Facebook, Twitter, etc., it seems we think we "know" these dancers. Social Media has erased any illusion of privacy. There's scant mystery about any of them any more. Personally, I find being "followed" in any form is a bit creepy.

That sense of intimacy that performers in certain arts tend to inspire is nothing new, though. It's been happening for centuries.

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I think some dancers love being followed on social media and use it to increase their fan base. You can arrange for privacy settings if you only want to be followed by certain close friends, and not the general public.

Re Boylston, I think her jumping ability is equal to Osipova's, based on what I have seen her do over the years. Her feet are gorgeously curved, and she has a strong technique overall. It's various other elements of her dancing that require refinement, but I think she can definitely get there over time. As for the Fancy Free pdd, I think basic ballroom dancing skills are needed for that. I know that it is part of the curriculum at NYCB (SAB), but have no idea if it is taught to people entering ABT. That FF pdd call for a lot of back flexibility and head movements that you find in certain ballroom dances.

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