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Spring 2015: Swan Lake


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Aurora wrote:

I pointed out that, actually, it was the case at the time for Part among Ballet Alert! member. sidwich did not claim that every Ballet Alert! member agreed. Ballet Alert! members' opinions are not, of course, necessarily universal. However, there was much carping about Part's technical deficiencies, almost as much about her not doing the "harder" option for Lilac Fairy in the new Ratmansky, as if this were the YAGP finals.

Copeland's technical proficiency vs. Part's technical proficiency is a different issue. How much the technical issues impacted people's enjoyment of both dancers' performances is also very, very different.

The post you are quoting from me was made before your own. I'm not arguing! :)

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However, there was much carping about Part's technical deficiencies, almost as much as about her not doing the "harder" option for Lilac Fairy in the new Ratmansky, as if this were the YAGP finals.

I find this comment offensive. Just because one prefers one variation over the other, does not mean they have "YAGP final" mentality.

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You can prefer one to the other, and think that one is dull, doesn't work dramatically or structurally, and the other is more exciting, works better on today's dancers, etc. However, the idea that variations and dancers should be judged entirely based on difficulty and a dancer's integrity and competence should be questioned for choosing a technically "easier" variation is competition mentality. You are welcome to disagree.

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You can prefer one to the other, and think that one is dull, doesn't work dramatically or structurally, and the other is more exciting, works better on today's dancers, etc. However, the idea that variations and dancers should be judged entirely based on difficulty and a dancer's integrity and competence should be questioned for choosing a technically "easier" variation is competition mentality. You are welcome to disagree.

Not once have I questioned Part's integrity or competence. I've stated that she has technical deficiences, but I've also stated she's one of the loveliest Nikiya's I've seen. Her Lilac fairy does nothing for me, but to each their own. Guess I have a YAGP mentality.

I think this board is starting to make me a bit hypersensitive, so I'm out until next met season. See you all next spring. :)

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Also -- we should differentiate between the Rose Adagio Part performed at ABT's opening night gala in 2007 and the Rose Adagio she performed at the premiere of the complete ballet. The Rose Adagio that went south was the one at the gala (for which I was not present). I believe all of the negative reviews posted above come from the gala performance, and the positive reviews come from the premiere of the full ballet.

I was at the premiere of the full ballet, and, as far as I can remember, it was a clean Rose Adagio. I believe I've seen every Part Sleeping Beauty since that time, and she never again fell off pointe in the Rose Adagio. She definitely became a lot more technically secure between 2007 and 2010 or so, and her final few Sleeping Beauty performances with Gomes were really radiant.

As someone who has closely watched her career, I would say that she didn't reach her technical peak until after her promotion. Also, her nerves/tentativeness seemed to become much less apparent following her promotion. And she learned how to roll with the punches when she did have a technical glitch, not letting it negatively impact the rest of the performance.

I think Part's career arc is very unique, and it perhaps illustrates how you can work out technical kinks even when you're already mid-career. In that respect, I think she can be a useful analogy for Copeland. A lot of people take issue with Copeland's lines, and there's really no changing those at this point, I believe; however, it's certainly possible that Copeland could grow in technique and expressiveness following a promotion. She'll certainly be given more resources (coaching) to do so.

I do think Seo's dancing is much, much closer to early Part's than Misty's is. I remember Part falling off pointe and struggling to get back up when Gomes was holding her in an arabesque in Swan Lake (sometime in the mid 2000s?). Seo also seems to fall off pointe at random moments that don't seem particularly difficult. Early Part and current Seo aren't exactly spinning tops, and Seo's fouettes can be a hold-your-breath moment for the audience, just as early Part's were. Seo and Part both have lovely lines and beautiful faces that are well-suited for the stage. If Seo were more expressive in classical roles, then I think people might be more forgiving of her, as they were of early Part.

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However, I think Seo's dancing is much, much closer to early Part than Misty's is. I remember Part falling off pointe and struggling to get back up when Gomes was holding her in an arabesque in Swan Lake (sometime in the mid 2000s?). Seo also seems to fall off pointe at random moments that don't seem particularly difficult. Early Part and current Seo aren't exactly spinning tops, and Seo's fouettes can be a hold-your-breath moment for the audience, just as early Part's were. Seo and Part both have lovely lines and beautiful faces that are perfectly suited for the stage. If Seo were more expressive in classical roles, then I think people might be more forgiving of her, as they were of early Part.

I agree with this entirely, and I also remember some shaky performances from Part early on. Seo's wobbles in Bayadere bothered me this season, but would have less so were she more expressive in the role. (I found Misty's Odette/Odile to be much less shaky than Hee's Nikiya) But her lines and face are beautiful, and I'm glad to hear her O/O and Juliet were well received by some on here.

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I know this is really off topic, but did anyone else notice Murphy and Makarova over the entry doors at the MET? They are both pictured in the Nikiya bikini costume. But Gillian only danced Gazmatti this season. Thought this was strange.

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For a lot of us, as expressed here, we just aren't bothered much by technical issues if there are compensating aspects, and, especially, if we like the dancer. Part has had more of us than Seo. (although I like "Hee," a combination of her names). I'm hoping to read after this season's trial-by-fire for Seo that the tide has turned, although, like with Part, not everyone is going to love her, ever.

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Just a guess, but perhaps some of Part's difficulty pre-promotion may have been due to the stress of whether or not she'd get that promotion. Once she did, by the accounts I'm reading here, her technique improved. Relief may well account for it. I have always loved her because of her artistry which, to me, will always take precedence over technique, assuming the technique is "good enough." Being an athlete is only part of being a dancer: musicality/artistry make up 50% of the equation, IMO.

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Thanks to all who posted details on the Part and Abrera lilac fairy differences. Very enlightening! I don't see that in "contest" terms, but as choices to work to their strengths. It's interesting how much variation Ratmansky allowed (or perhaps even encouraged) in his reconstruction.

It's too bad Part hasn't had more opportunities to dance with Gomes. Perhaps he's just too busy with other partners. He was her partner in the Ratmansky Symphony No. 9 when it premiered at City Center (fall 2012?). And their White Swan PdD is really lovely on the DVD Ballet's Greatest Hits (taped at a YAPG Gala in Tampa -- 2012 or 2013?)

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Two years ago closing night SLEEPING BEAUTY was Part and Gomes. They were repeating their roles in the last performance of that pridyction, just as they had performed the premiere performance some years earlier. I did a "prep" before attending that performance, watching countless other versions (video), immersing myself - Fonteyn, Cojucaru, Vishneva, Gregory, Zakharova, etc. Part blew me away. I still hold that performance as one of the finest I have ever seen - and for my money, way better than this year's SLEEPING BEAUTY, Disney sets and all.

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