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Spring 2015: Giselle


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I can't add much to the previous posts, but want to say that I feel privileged to have seen last night's Giselle. For me the Vishneva/Gomes partnership in Giselle is the successor to Ferri/Bocca and in the same league as the other great Giselles I've see from Fonteyn/Nureyev and Fracci/Bruhn through Makarova/Baryshnikov and Kirkland/Baryshnikov. They may both be showing their age a bit but the technical level is still quite high and their artistry is undiminished.

As far as their characterizations, I love Vishneva's combination of shyness and curiosity and her complete adoration of Loys. And her 2nd act is the most ghostly and ethereal I can remember.

I agree that Teuscher lacks the necessary authority for Myrtha but there were a couple of moments in her solo where she whirled with the fever of a fury. I think with time she will develop into a great Myrtha. For me at this point Part's is the gold standard at ABT. I also love Murphy's but she is so stern and unrelenting, I prefer the Mariinsky approach where you see the anger tempered by moments of regret.

Also I'm sorry to have to agree with this one but I also found Salstein very sloppy in the peasant pas, though I thought Misty was lovely.

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What an emotional farewell. Paloma looked as if she couldn't think no more. She had a very intense, intimate moment with Mme. Kolpakova onstage. Her Giselle was earthier...or let's say..."less Russian", which is fine on my book. I saw her technically stronger than many half her age.Brava, Paloma!

Bolle, oh..."Roberto el hermoso"...so passionate and beautiful. Damn, is he good looking! I didn't count his entrechats, but he certainly over passed Marcelo. He, just like Gomes, was all about taking good care of his Giselle.I am very glad I saw this performance.

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What an emotional farewell. Paloma looked as if she couldn't think no more. She had a very intense, intimate moment with Mme. Kolpakova onstage. Her Giselle was earthier...or let's say..."less Russian", which is fine on my book. I saw her technically stronger than many half her age.Brava, Paloma!

Bolle, oh..."Roberto el hermoso"...so passionate and beautiful. Damn, is he good looking! I didn't count his entrechats, but he certainly over passed Marcelo. He, just like Gomes, was all about taking good care of his Giselle.I am very glad I saw this performance.

I'm pretty sure I counted 38!! What a marvel! I simply cannot speak about the whole performance, other than to say it was so filled with emotion and memories. Paloma is an artist of such uniqueness that it's difficult for me right now to process that she won't be on the stage with ABT any longer. It was an extraordinary performance by an extraordinary dancer. I think everyone on stage with her today felt likewise. And to see her on the stage afterwards with so many others,past and present was truly a moving moment. I'm hopeful it was the finale she wished for and that she can exit the stage with such pride and fulfillment. Thank you, Miss Herrera for everything you have given us over the years. Brava!

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Well, I was at both performances today, and I'm so emotionally overwhelmed/exhausted that I don't know what to say. Farewell to two wonderful ballerinas!! A heartfelt "bravo!" and "thank you!!"

Here are videos from Paloma's farewell--but note that there is some *very* loud cheering, so you might want to lower the volume when you watch them.

Farewell:

Curtain calls:

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Everyone was at their very best for Xiomara's farewell tonight. The crowd was loving her and the cheers grew steadily louder with each scene. Stella was great. Joseph Gorak and Sarah Lane danced the peasant pas de deux and how lucky we were. And we got to see Misty Copeland as Zulma. My one objection was that Herman did not do the entrechats-six, which is surprising since he was in top form.

After the traditional curtain call, each of the wilis lined up to hand Xiomara a rose. Then came the current and former principals including, if I'm not mistaken, Angel Corella, Jose Carreno and Julio Bocca. She, and the rest of us, seemed less than enthused for KM. Then her husband came with a very passionate embrace. The standing ovation went on for 20 minutes, and included a slow rain of confetti and a whole flower shop's worth of bouquets.

The final scene was emotional - just as Giselle leaves Albrecht forever, Xiomara, who was my favorite ABT dancer, has now left us, prematurely in my view. I think she still has at least a few years in her.

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The final scene was emotional - just as Giselle leaves Albrecht forever, Xiomara, who was my favorite ABT dancer, has now left us, prematurely in my view. I think she still has at least a few years in her.

I agree! She definitely looked like she could dance for several more seasons. I certainly will miss her.

I just wanted to add that Xiomara made a point of giving a flower to all the people who came onstage to give her a bouquet, which I thought was a really, really sweet touch. She made Julie Kent take back the entire bouquet, and tried to do the same to Nina Ananiashvili, but Nina wouldn't have it and insisted that Xiomara take it. Just lovely to see. You could tell she was very well loved by the current and former dancers in the company.

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You are right MIMSYB,it was 38 entrechats. Bolle was amazing. His solo was excellent also, though for some reason he started from stage right instead of his usual stage left. Paloma was radiant and assured. She seemed to really be happy to be sharing the performance with Roberto. There were many little "moments" between the two of them. The lifts were beautiful. Aaron Scott and Skylar Brandt were charming as the peasants and Thomas Forrester was impressive in his second act torment scene. A memorable performance all around.

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Xiomara, who was my favorite ABT dancer, has now left us, prematurely in my view. I think she still has at least a few years in her.

Apparently she agrees she could have danced longer, but felt it was time to step aside for younger dancers. She told the NY Times

When I was in Cuba growing up, people were dancing into their 50s, their 60s, their 70s. I grew up on that culture. So for me, I never saw an ending. I thought it would end when my body would tell me. My body hasn’t told me yet. I find somehow with age, it has become easier.
I cannot tell you I’m ready to retire. I cannot tell you this is an easy decision for me. I cannot tell you that because the truth is, as Julie says, I would have danced until my body told me to stop.

Thank you, everyone, for the reviews. She was my favorite ABT dancer as well. I was able to see her one last time in Cinderella in March.

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Apparently she agrees she could have danced longer, but felt it was time to step aside for younger dancers. She told the NY Times

Thank you, everyone, for the reviews. She was my favorite ABT dancer as well. I was able to see her one last time in Cinderella in March.

Sadly, I could not attend this one. Any photos of the "farewell bows"?

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I was at both retirement performances and don't have a lot to add to the comments above. I did notice Macaulay at both (and at the Vishneva/Gomes Tuesday night), so perhaps we'll get an overview comparison of all.

Cornejo did the brises instead of the entrechats, but they weren't well done. He only did a few and barely left the ground. Not the rapid-fire flying-off-the-ground we've all seen in the Baryshnikov-Makarova tape from 1977.

Bolle-Herrera didn't do the tabletop lifts in Act II and substituted a simpler vertical lift. Cornejo-Reyes did the tabletops, but they looked very, very shaky. (Bolle-Kent and Vishneva-Gomes all did the tabletops.)

I like Cornejo -- sparkling, crisp technique -- but his acting just didn't have the presence of either Bolle or Gomes.

The greetings at the end were mostly the same people, although I saw Makarova in the afternoon (but not evening) and Nina in the evening (but not afternoon) - although it's entirely possible I overlooked them in the crowd. Both Herrera and Reyes seemed especially overjoyed to see Corella and he seemed really happy to be there.

I gather chic young male dancers in New York are all into suits with super-tight very-short pants. Hope that fad passes quickly -- really looks awful on all of them. (Unlike the tights-jeans I see on super-skinny female dancers, the only people who should wear those things.)

Reyes gave a flower back to almost everybody during the greetings - it was very touching and seemed to express her generosity of spirit to everyone. She also gave a hug to each and every corps member when they came on with single flowers.

In the evening, I was sitting next to a very well-dressed and well-informed older couple who seemed to know everybody. Loud boos when McKenzie came on.

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In the Paloma farewell video posted, the hugs between Paloma and everyone who came out was so sweet and caring, until KM goes into hug her and it's completely awkward.

Sad to see these two beautiful dancers retire.

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In the evening, I was sitting next to a very well-dressed and well-informed older couple who seemed to know everybody. Loud boos when McKenzie came on.

Boos? Really? Despite the circumstances of Reyes' farewell, I don't think boos are appropriate. It's her night. Leave the animosity outside.

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I was at Paloma's farewell. Giselle was never her greatest role, but she gave an excellent performance. Bolle was magnificent. Paloma was very warm with everyone who came out during Paloma's bows, until McKenzie came out. You could see her body stiffen up when McKenzie approached. However, she did make history under McKenzie's leadership- the youngest principal at ABT. Back in the day, those were exciting times when the two teenagers, Paloma and Angel, regularly wowed the crowds with their technical brilliance and exuberance. The crowd went wild when Angel came out, as the memories of their performances together flooded the collective memories of the cheering audience.

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It may have been impolite to boo, but under the circumstances it is certainly understandable. Reyes' interviews have stated that she would have stayed and danced at ABT another 2 or 3 years. The implication of her words is that McKenzie forced her to retire. That, as well as various other McKenzie policies, are boo-worthy, in my opinion.

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It may have been impolite to boo, but under the circumstances it is certainly understandable. Reyes' interviews have stated that she would have stayed and danced at ABT another 2 or 3 years. The impmlication of her words are that McKenzie forced her to retire. That, as well as various other McKenzie policies, are boo-worthy, in my opinion.

They also talked about the current economic situation and the fact that because of it the company can tour less, performs less, and that this makes every performance a must-sell out performance, with less freedom to make mistakes.

This part of it was not a situation of his making, and they recognized that.

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I will miss Xiomara greatly. She really grew on me over the years, and I found her dancing to be wonderfully musical. One of my favorite Xiomara moments was seeing her in the Tudor R&J pas de deux at City Center. Never forget that. Wish she was dancing the McMillian R&J this season.

I'm sad I couldn't be there, so thank you so much for sharing the reviews and the curtain calls. Xiomara's embrace with Irina Kolpakova was beautiful.

Interesting that both retiring principals showed visible apprehension when McKenzie approached.

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Thank you to those of you who filmed both farewells. Heartwarming. So sorry to have missed their final performances but "almost there" vicariously thru the videos. Yes the dancers love them both, and although both were gracious to KM, they could not be effusive toward him. But boos from the audiences--totally inappropriate. The Met is not the bleachers at Yankee Stadium!

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Reyes' acting struck me as among the most naturalistic of the principal dancers. She was the least mannered, and I mean that as a high compliment. Given her stature and her demeanor, I felt that she, more than most other ballerinas, could most convincingly become the character she was portraying. There was a complete honesty and forthrightness in her portrayals of roles like Giselle and Juliet.

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Even among the confetti and flowers you can feel the brrr factor when Kevin McKenzie came onstage.

You really can! It was more noticeable with Reyes than Paloma, but neither gave him the warm hugs they gave everyone else. Interesting...

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