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Sudden substitution at NYCB 2/7/01

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I thought people would be interested, but Yvonne Borree did not debut tonight in the lead role in Divertimento No. 15 - Abi Stafford was thrown in. I have no way of knowing how much rehearsal she got, but it did not seem planned and it wasn't the ideal circumstances to debut in such a demanding role. There were some shaky moments in a few turns in the opening which looked like nerves, but she seemed to gain confidence as the ballet went on. She has the speed for the variation and made a very witty moment out of the tongue-twisting set of piques in it.

Her situation reminds me of about a decade ago when Margaret Tracey was the ballerina who got thrown into any emergency situation. It seems Martins relies on only select dancers that way, and I'm sure it's a mixed blessing.

There were also very lovely performances in the variations from most of the female leads, particularly Jenifer Ringer in the third and Jennie Somogyi in the fourth variations.

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Leigh and all Balletalerters:

I noticed that Borree was orginally supposed to debut on Tuesday evening. Did she? Is she injured? i have been rooting for Borree this season as one of the principal "underdogs" of the company; it seems Peter lost interest in her when she reached the rank of principal. Although I have never been a Borree fan, I have seen in the past what she is capable of, and have been happy to see her begin to live up to it this season. As much as I admire Abby's imperturbability, I am surprised at Peter's push--surely Theme was enough, a challenge she handled admirably. I think the constant "testing" or the throwing her into principal roles in unfair of the administration, regardless of her ability and sangfroid. She is so young; there is no need to put her in EVERY killer principal role the repetory has to offer.

[ February 08, 2002: Message edited by: britomart ]

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I'm not sure I'd agree that Peter "lost interest" in Borree. If anything, I'd say he showed a marked, though puzzling, loyalty to her, casting her night after night even when it seemed she was struggling with nerves or stage fright or shockingly indifferent partnering. I'm sure some directors might've decided to sit down a dancer going through such travails for awhile, to allow her to regain her composure. Apparently Martins decided to let Borree work things out onstage. Or perhaps he didn't notice. Who can say?

I am glad that Borree seems to have turned a corner, and I hope she'll soon be back onstage.

As for Stafford, she did commendably well, although seeing her do that killer Hayden solo with an aggressive competency, after a parade of some of NYCB's most persona-rich dancers, made me hope that some day her soul might venture out of her toe shoes.

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You're right, Manhattanik, when you say Martins did show loyalty to her. What I mean when I say he lost interest would more correctly be termed as he didn't have any interest in developing Borree when she reached the principal level. He is a sink or swim kind of director it appears, but during borre's corps and soloist years, he seemed to have an eye for developing her through careful casting. I have heard others say "I enjoyed her so much as a soloist, but now..." As I have said before, however, she seems newly confident onstage (when I have seen her) this season, and I hope it continues.

And thanks, rg for the info!

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Well, from what I've seen it's Peter's MO to show far more interest in today's up-and-comers (usually in the corps) than yesterday's (soloists and principals). While I agree that little nurturing appeared to be going on (was it kind to put her in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux last year?) with Borree, she certainly fared much better than other former Martins "discoveries" in whom he seems to be showing a baffling lack of interest: Meunier (who seems to have her own personal doghouse somewhere on the Lincoln Center grounds), Somogyi (who has been nothing short of sensational when she has been onstage this season), Tinsley (who seemed to fall into a black hole when she was promoted to soloist), well, I could go on and on.

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This doesn't change the validity of anything stated here, but just so it doesn't get perpetuated, I checked my books - in both Caracole from '52 and then Divert in '56, the final variation was Patricia Wilde's. Hayden definitely did dance it; I saw her coach it at PNB, there is an article on it in Dance View, (so subscribe!) - that was interesting in and of itself as a few steps have changed in it (the final diagonal when she danced it wasn't step-over turns, but a repeated releve turn on one leg.) I think Hayden's variation (again in both versions) was the second, danced last night by Pascale van Kipnis.

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I usually have to look no further than Martin's latest piece to know who's in his good graces (and as a personal bias, Rutherford has never had a lead in one)

And from there see how many more they are in.

Margaret Tracey remained pretty consistent through her career with Martins and there's an article in Time Out discussing why she chose to retire dancing a piece Martins did for her.

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