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Spring 2015: Giselle


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The cheers were so loud after both performances that I doubt anybody could hear the "boos," except for those of us in the immediate vicinity. But the interesting point is that people who looked like major donors (or perhaps future donors or lapsed donors) are unhappy about McKenzie and weren't embarrassed about letting bystanders know. These were not kids or groupies.

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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.

Yes, I thought of that watching the YouTube footage. When Paloma struck the Don Q pose and then Angel and she embraced, I thought of that ABT Dance in America DVD from 1997 in which Paloma and Angel performed the Don Q pas de deux. They were so young then (Angel, in particular, looked like he was 15) and it's hard to believe that 18 years have passed since that DVD was released. I pulled out the DVD tonight and, with the retirements of Herrera and Julie Kent, every single performer listed on the back cover will be retired from ABT by the end of the season. Who would have guessed that that DVD heralded the third great era in ABT history and that nearly 20 years would elapse in the blink of an eye?

It was interesting watching that YouTube footage because it gives you a good sense of everyone's respective heights. Victor Barbee, who is a decent height for a male ballet dancer, looks much shorter than Tom Forster, who is standing to Barbee's right. (And this with Forster slouching somewhat.) When Kolpakova stands in front of Barbee, you see how much shorter she is than Barbee. And Kolpakova definitely looks taller than Makharova, who is standing to Barbee's left.

Finally, Makharova wins the Martha "center stage is wherever I'm standing" Graham award for picking just the right spot to get in the video footage. A great star ALWAYS knows where her best camera angle is! wink1.gif

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Thank you to everyone who posted the farewell bows. It was nice to see Gorak and Radetsky come out for Reyes since soloists are usually not included. Yeah, what an icy greeting she gave Mckenzie. She was so gracious to everyone else and I loved that she gave them all a flower.

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Where does Macauly sit? That would give us an indication of what they consider the best seats.

Can anyone confirm that Carreno and Bocca were up there?

Unfortunately, I did not see either of them...

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On the tail end of an absolutely breathtaking second act tonight, Osipova took a nasty, nasty fall. Limped back up and powered through the rest of the performance, but it was clear during curtain calls that she was in pain.

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Where does Macauly sit? That would give us an indication of what they consider the best seats.

Macauley sits in row M of the orchestra (I'm usually row K or L so I see him) on the right side on the aisle.

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On the tail end of an absolutely breathtaking second act tonight, Osipova took a nasty, nasty fall. Limped back up and powered through the rest of the performance, but it was clear during curtain calls that she was in pain.

Her fall was really bad. It was when she's doing the entrechats going upstage. She slipped, fell on her butt with her legs splayed in front of her. She just lay there for a bit, then limped out to the center of the stage. I thought she was going to walk off but she finished the rest of the ballet ( not much left) looking like she was marking the steps. After a long while she limped on stage for the curtain calls. She couldn't even get the conductor. Veronika (Myrtha tonight) did that. I hope she's not out for the rest of the season:(

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Osipova was brilliant tonight. I hope she is not badly injured. It seemed like an eternity before she got up off of the floor after her fall. None of the other Giselles at ABT had her elevation, speed or technique. When she first entered in Act II, she was a whirlwind. A tornado. She is also a phenomenal actress in this ballet. The hops on point were thrilling. As has become her custom, in Act I she covered tons of real estate in her hops on point, and in the middle she rotates 360 degrees. Unreal. Nobody else can even attempt that..

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Her fall was really bad. It was when she's doing the entrechats going upstage. She slipped, fell on her butt with her legs splayed in front of her. She just lay there for a bit, then limped out to the center of the stage. I thought she was going to walk off but she finished the rest of the ballet ( not much left) looking like she was marking the steps. After a long while she limped on stage for the curtain calls. She couldn't even get the conductor. Veronika (Myrtha tonight) did that. I hope she's not out for the rest of the season:(

Yes, a very nasty fall. She looked to be in shock. Hope it's not as bad as it looked. Kudos to Ms. Osipova and to all who covered and completed the ballet.

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As has become her custom, in Act I she covered tons of real estate in her hops on point, and in the middle she rotates 360 degrees. Unreal. Nobody else can even attempt that..

Not that I've seen them lined up to determine who covers the most space, but I've seen Ekaterina Krysanova and Yolanda Correa do what you described.

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Not that I've seen them lined up to determine who covers the most space, but I've seen Ekaterina Krysanova and Yolanda Correa do what you described.

And Nina also rotates while hopping.

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Very scary fall. A few more details. In Act I, early on, she seemed to slip just a tad in the middle of the stage. I remember thinking: "is she not used to the surface of this stage? Lucky she didn't fall."

At the very, very end, she skipped the penche at the grave, holding onto the cross. She also skipped tossing Albrecht a last lily. But I have no way of knowing if that was a change the two planned before or if this was a way of getting off-stage as quickly as possible. She did have some time off-stage after the fall and before this last sequence, so the shortening could have been arranged.

I think they keep a physical therapist on-hand in the wings for emergencies. I remember reading a report long ago about Baryshnikov twisting something during a Giselle and the therapist popped a bone back into place, asking him: how much time off-stage? How much can I do before you have to go back on?

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Osipova was brilliant tonight. I hope she is not badly injured. It seemed like an eternity before she got up off of the floor after her fall. None of the other Giselles at ABT had her elevation, speed or technique. When she first entered in Act II, she was a whirlwind. A tornado. She is also a phenomenal actress in this ballet. The hops on point were thrilling. As has become her custom, in Act I she covered tons of real estate in her hops on point, and in the middle she rotates 360 degrees. Unreal. Nobody else can even attempt that..

Yes. Hope she will be all right.

She seems to have gotten some very good coaching at the Royal, too; her port-de-bras have become more beautiful and I could see the Royal's classicism there.

Steven McRae was very good--fantastic entrechats size and petit batterie throughout, although he definitely chose more show-offy variations then the ABT men usually do. Some of his acting didn't read as well, but a great performance overall.

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Steven McRae was very good--fantastic entrechats size and petit batterie throughout, although he definitely chose more show-offy variations then the ABT men usually do. Some of his acting didn't read as well, but a great performance overall.

I thought McRae's acting was good in Act 1 but the dancing? Blech! He hardly had any ballon and his batterie. I've never seen anything as ugly. His scissors almost went to 2nd position and you could really see every single beat. Really unimpressed.

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I thought McRae's acting was good in Act 1 but the dancing? Blech! He hardly had any ballon and his batterie. I've never seen anything as ugly. His scissors almost went to 2nd position and you could really see every single beat. Really unimpressed.

And perhaps just a bit small. I hate to say this on such a terrible night for Ms. Osipova, but they seemed mis-matched most of the evening. She seemed to over power him much of the time, and he was simply too diminutive when next to her. Her acting tends also to be large and enunciated; his is very understated. I often felt she was doing her ballet and he was doing his. His beats and elevation were better in Act II than in the first act. But I almost giggled when he first came on in Act II with his lilies. The bouquet was almost as big as he was. Couldn't ABT props have found a smaller bunch of lilies somewhere? I like McRae as a dancer; just not so much with Osipova. This is terrible to say, but there were moments tonight when I thought he resembled the cartoon character, "The Whimpy Kid". For me the most realistic (and therefore believable) people on stage tonight were Roman Zhurbin as Hilarion, and Marion Butler as Giselle's mother. Both had absolute naturalistic qualities with their acting and character portrayal. Not since Isaac Stapaas have I seen a Hilarion so terrified by those Wilis! Part was especially icy tonight, and I was very impressed with both Katherine Williams and Zhong-Jing Fang as Moyna and Zulma respectively. Up until tonight's tragedy, the best and most impressive aspects of the performance were to be found in the corps and secondary characters.

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For me the most realistic (and therefore believable) people on stage tonight were Roman Zhurbin as Hilarion, and Marion Butler as Giselle's mother. Both had absolute naturalistic qualities with their acting and character portrayal. Not since Isaac Stapaas have I seen a Hilarion so terrified by those Wilis! Part was especially icy tonight, and I was very impressed with both Katherine Williams and Zhong-Jing Fang as Moyna and Zulma respectively. Up until tonight's tragedy, the best and most impressive aspects of the performance were to be found in the corps and secondary characters.

I agree with you mimsyb. I thought Rhoman Zhurbin was a terrific Hilarion, overwhelming in his love for Giselle, unafraid to challenge Lloys/Abrecht. The best one I've seen so far. And Zhong-Jing Fang as Zulma. What a gorgeous dancer!! Exquisite upper body with expressive, liquid arms while maintaining a strong lower body. Her tours into a penchee were to die for. Just perfect. Another ABT corps dancer who needs to be promoted NOW.

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First and most important of all let's hope Osipova wasn't injured. Her fall is very upsetting to me. A friend just called, KM made an announcement at the stage door that she's being treated and it's too early to tell the extent, if any, of the injury. I was sitting at the orchestra not far from the stage, I thought I saw Veronika with tears in her eyes as if she's expressing great concern for a close friend and couldn't do anything about it when witnessing the fall diagonally across the stage . I thought she was fully recovered when she exited the stage when 2 grand jetés but my heart sunk when walked with a slight limp during curtain calls. The audience showered her with thunderous applause to express their supports and for her professionalism. Even the corps broke their characters with applause during curtain calls. I hope someone will post YT video of the curtain calls.

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On the tail end of an absolutely breathtaking second act tonight, Osipova took a nasty, nasty fall. Limped back up and powered through the rest of the performance, but it was clear during curtain calls that she was in pain.

Oh dear! I find her such a unique ballerina and her athleticism and power are unparalled. But the higher you climb (jump?), the harder you fall- I really hope she's not out the rest of the season and not injured badly. Surprising, she seems so unshakeable on stage.

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Part looked stunned and she almost took one step forward when Natalia fell. I also saw tears in her eyes. I couldn't see the fall clearly due to my angle (far left corner) but I'm glad I couldn't. No one wants to see such a nasty fall. It's a shame because she was phenomenal yesterday night.

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My heart and best wishes go out to Osipova tonight who, as I and others have noted, fell and seemed to get injured immediately. I hope I'm wrong. If not, this is the 5th time I've seen a dancer get injured while dancing (Somogyi, Nikitina from the Mariinsky, Vyette, Cornejo when he tore his calf, and now this). It never gets any less sad or terrifying to watch. I truly wish her the best, and that she is only shaken and not badly injured.

Injury notwithstanding, these are my thoughts on the ballet. Osipova's is the one I call the "athletic" Giselle. She comes out like gangbusters in Act 1 with those gand jete jumps and only lets up when she dies. And then only for a moment. In Act 2 she comes out like a whirling dervish, "a tornado" I believe abatt said. Does this seem to be the preference of most people now? Judging from all the clapping and bravas she received mid ballet, I'd have to say yes. Is it my personal preference? Not really. I don't really mind Act 1 so much but in Act 2 I just don't find her very "wili" like or ethereal. She's too much the super duper athlete.

Anyway, I did love her Act 1. Her jump is phenomenal. She can seemingly hang in the air forever. When she does her skipping, traveling ballones, no one does them higher or travels more. In her grand jetes, she gets very high and seems to hang, suspended in mid-air. She does the hops on pointe, no problem. Not only does she get across the whole stage, she does a whole 360 degree circle while traveling. Unlike Vishneva, she does not clutch her heart early on, but just stops for a moment, with her hand on her heart. Her mad scene is also rather brief and one note. As a result, (as I said to nysusan and abatt at intermission) she looks more like a lunatic than someone with a bad heart. It's a choice, I'm sure, but one I'm not really sure I like.

As for Steven McRae I thought, at least in Act 1, he was a pretty good actor but not much of a dancer. He has little ballon and, again, as I said up thread, I've never seen such ugly petit batterie. He came out princely but not too entitled. He made a point of greeting each village girl as they came out. He started his pursuit of Giselle almost immediately after she came out. He was very ardent, grabbing for her hands, trying to kiss her. He never came off as a cad. He almost didn't acknowledge Bathilde (Luciana Voltolini) and even before Giselle died, seemed to be asking for forgiveness. He even kissed her. So for me he came off somewhere between the reserved Shklyarov and the over the top Marcelo (I didn't see Bolle).

The peasant pas was nicely danced by Blaine Hoven and Luciana Paris. I liked them both. His cabrioles weren't as high and didn't cover as much space as Craig but his tours were more cleanly landed. I thought she was nice, nothing special but held her balance well in the pirouette to penchee combination.

On to Act 2. I believe I am the only complainer about Veronika (Myrtha) here but her failure to do beats bothers me. Also tonight, I noticed how far she had to pitch her upper body forward to just lift her leg in arabesque. Yes, she is authoritative but still, C'mon Veronika! Katherine Williams and Zhong-Jing Fang were Moyna and Zulma respectively. I thought Zhong was gorgeous, as I said up thread. Katherine was also quite good.

Next Osipova. She came out with those whirling turns. I don't think I've ever seen her do them faster. And then she does sissones and she gathers up her feet under her when she jumps. She went for both height and speed. The same when she does the entrechats in place; she jumps so high, repeatedly, she looks like a pogo stick. I may be the sole complainer on here (and she got roars of approval from the audience) but I don't find this even remotely ethereal or ephemeral. This is just not my view of a wili. I really prefer Diana's interpretation. Just because you can do all that doesn't mean you should. I did like her développes into second. She got them almost to her head without having to compensate by leaning the opposite way with her body.

As for Mc Rae, I liked him better in Act 2. His entrechats (I counted 31) were cleaner, not so strange looking. But I do think he's a better actor than dancer. And he and Osipova have a lovely rapport. After she hurt herself, he really tried to help her, including at the curtain calls. Once, Osipova hit the floor and limped back onstage, I just wanted the ballet to be over so she could lie down. I guess we won't know until later whether she badly injured herself but I keep wondering if it was wise for her to finish. Don't they always have a cover, waiting in the wings?

Well, it's very late and those are my thoughts. My foremost one is that Osipova is ok.

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After seeing Osipova paired with Matthew Golding in the RB Swan Lake cinema screening, Steven McRae was a welcome relief to me.

I was shocked that Natalia and Steven came out for a second curtain call after the house lights came up. She even walked a bit toward the middle of the stage and managed a curtsy. Extremely generous given the circumstances.

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Agree that Roman was terrific as Hilarion. There was something he did when he interrupted Giselle and Albrecht at the start of the climactic scene before he brought out the sword where he gave a little nod at Albrecht as if saying, "Oh yes, I know you for who you are. Be afraid," which I really liked.

@Amour, I guess I like being able to see the beats of the batterie?

But I don't disagree with others that McRae is on the small side and is a bit understated compared to Osipova.

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