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Helene

Spring 2015: The Sleeping Beauty

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If I could "like" posts here, I'd "like" that one 100x.LOL

I believe that Osipova was cast for Sleeping Beauty on Wednesday, June 10th, not yesterday, June 11th.

Sarah did a beautiful, full of quality performance. The fall to her rump happened not during the Rose Adadio, but after she pricked her finger and (via the choreography) fell softly to the floor. When she got up to begin the "I'm okay, I think, but not really dancing" (via the choreography) that's when she slipped on a fake, red rose on the floor. She was on her rump for a couple of seconds before she acted her way through it. Many around me in the audience thought that rump moment was cute and just part of the choreography.

I thought Herman danced his Bournonville variation with elegance, pride and very strong technique.

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Considering that Petipa, whose brother was the original Albrecht, and Bournonville share the same ballet DNA, it should come as no surprise that their choreography reflects this.

Yes! Alexandra (thanks again!) reminded me of this a few years ago when I was amazed at how much Dough Fullington's reconstruction of the Jardin Anime reminded me of Bournonville.

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Ok more thoughts: as I mentioned earlier, Lane is technically quite proficient, and has a lot of potential, but also doesn't project. I wonder if it's a result of so many years of dancing things like the Peasant Pas de Deux. She doesn't quite know how to sell her own performance. The Act 3 variation worked wonderfully for Herman.

ABT badly needs a jumping coach for many of the women. Many of them seem to have absolutely no elevation at all. Copeland is unfortunately one of those women (and I say this as someone who doesn't really dislike Misty's dancing). But in the final "flying" diagonal with Bluebird, it's a problem when the Florine has so little elevation that those tiny little hops don't even look like flying.

Full write up here: http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2015/06/sleeping-beauty-take-2.html

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ABT badly needs a jumping coach for many of the women. Many of them seem to have absolutely no elevation at all. Copeland is unfortunately one of those women (and I say this as someone who doesn't really dislike Misty's dancing). But in the final "flying" diagonal with Bluebird, it's a problem when the Florine has so little elevation that those tiny little hops don't even look like flying.

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Assuming they have a men's class at ABT, I'm sure there's nothing preventing the women from taking it. Men's classes are full of jumping. A common strategy for female dancers to improve their strength and jumps.

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Assuming they have a men's class at ABT, I'm sure there's nothing preventing the women from taking it. Men's classes are full of jumping. A common strategy for female dancers to improve their strength and jumps.

I always loved to dance with the men in Mr. Ouboukov's class at SAB. Oh boy!

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Sarah did a beautiful, full of quality performance.

I just want to second this. I've thought about the idea put forth by some, that Lane dances small. I don't agree so I tried to think about what I personally think of as dancing small. For me Lane covers space well, has elegant line and her port de bras has fullness and amplitude in spades. She never has a problem filling out a legato musical phrase the way dancers who dance small do (in my way of looking at dancing small). Someone mentioned Copeland as an example of a short dancer who doesn't dance small. I agree, but it is by virtue of an extroverted, high energy performance style. Lane's performance style is different. I found her performance detailed, beautiful and captivating. For me she is one of the few high quality female dancers at ABT. The idea of dancing small is an interesting one. Many on stage Thursday night were guilty of it, By that I mean dancing under themselves, barely moving, having no musical concepts, not filling out the musical phrase. For my personal taste Lane did not dance small.

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I've never been to a performance Lane has danced in, so I can't speak from that experience. But today, I decided to head over to youtube to see what I could find. Mind you, I never took ballet, so I don't know all the terms, but I'm a musician which makes me see dance from that perspective. I watched Lane and Gorak in Flower Festival and then I watched Cojarocu and Kobborg dance in it.

In watching Lane first, I found that I admired her port des bras, but that I thought she danced in a very measured way. She had a way of sinking dead center in the music - what I call sitting in the beat - which is very nice, very pretty, but very unexciting. In dancing to music (I teach musical phrasing to championship Irish dancers), one can be on the beat in 3 different ways: one can be charging, one can dance in the very center of the music, and one can "bring up the rear." The first scenario shows an energetic dancer charging the beat. It's exciting and very crisp. The second example has a dancer performing right in the center of the beat. They are usually very neat, pretty dancers, but there's no electricity. The final way of staying on the beat is what I call "bringing up the rear" meaning that while technically, the dancer is not off time, but s/he appears heavy.

In Irish dance, the ones who charge are the ones who win. There's an electricity to that kind of dancing. Cojaracu is that kind of dancer. There's nothing measured about her musical phrasing. It's quick, yet very much well timed musically. There's practically an electrical flow to what she does, whereas Lane, while musically correct, appears bland by contrast. When I work with Irish dancers, I always tell them to charge the beat. It can completely recreate a dancer's look. There's nothing wrong with dancing in the middle of the beat, but it's dull. Maybe beautiful, but too much sameness. That's what I see in Lane.

I apologize for the very un-dance terminology. But I have found that every time I love a dancer and find that others find that dancer exciting and very musical as well, it turns out to be someone with that bit of charge. Sitting in the beat creates too much smoothness, too much sameness.

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The idea of dancing small is an interesting one. Many on stage Thursday night were guilty of it, By that I mean dancing under themselves, barely moving, having no musical concepts, not filling out the musical phrase. For my personal taste Lane did not dance small.

For me, dancing "small" is primarily a problem with projection, lack of stage presence, charisma, etc. Then it also has to do with really stretching your limbs out to the max they will go. This may be something that can be improved on (of course, so is stage presence) but is also hindered by a dancer's technical limitations. Many dancers, for example, probably do not have the extremely flexible back that Diana V has so they can't to the renversées or cambrés like she does. But Kochetkova (who can't be more than 5') is a dancer who dances much bigger than her size. Sarah did not do that, IMO. That's what I meant by dancing "small".

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Thank you vagansmom. What a great comment! I'll look for that explanation:))

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I've never been to a performance Lane has danced in, so I can't speak from that experience. But today, I decided to head over to youtube to see what I could find. Mind you, I never took ballet, so I don't know all the terms, but I'm a musician which makes me see dance from that perspective. I watched Lane and Gorak in Flower Festival and then I watched Cojarocu and Kobborg dance in it.

In watching Lane first, I found that I admired her port des bras, but that I thought she danced in a very measured way. She had a way of sinking dead center in the music - what I call sitting in the beat - which is very nice, very pretty, but very unexciting. In dancing to music (I teach musical phrasing to championship Irish dancers), one can be on the beat in 3 different ways: one can be charging, one can dance in the very center of the music, and one can "bring up the rear." The first scenario shows an energetic dancer charging the beat. It's exciting and very crisp. The second example has a dancer performing right in the center of the beat. They are usually very neat, pretty dancers, but there's no electricity. The final way of staying on the beat is what I call "bringing up the rear" meaning that while technically, the dancer is not off time, but s/he appears heavy.

In Irish dance, the ones who charge are the ones who win. There's an electricity to that kind of dancing. Cojaracu is that kind of dancer. There's nothing measured about her musical phrasing. It's quick, yet very much well timed musically. There's practically an electrical flow to what she does, whereas Lane, while musically correct, appears bland by contrast. When I work with Irish dancers, I always tell them to charge the beat. It can completely recreate a dancer's look. There's nothing wrong with dancing in the middle of the beat, but it's dull. Maybe beautiful, but too much sameness. That's what I see in Lane.

I apologize for the very un-dance terminology. But I have found that every time I love a dancer and find that others find that dancer exciting and very musical as well, it turns out to be someone with that bit of charge. Sitting in the beat creates too much smoothness, too much sameness.

I have to say that is an unfair comparison which is often a problem with youtube. Cojocaru, who is one of my favorite dancers of all time, has done that pas many times and it was filmed under great conditions. The Lane/Gorak one was not only their first time out but (according to their face book pages) was done on a bad stage, after driving many miles and barely having time to warm up.

However, the biggest problem for me is that you are comparing one of the greatest dancers of all time to a fine dancer. Most dancers would compare poorly to Cojocaru.

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These impressions and differences we have are so subjective. I was sitting in Row A Orchestra last night and was astonished at how far out Lane stepped in her pique turns. Oh, I thought to myself, that's what it means to dance "big." And no one suspends longer with both feet in the air in pas de chat.

I would also like to add that although the following is true for all the Petipa ballets, it is most true in SB: the ballerina carries the entire burden of the performance on her shoulders. The prince doesn't do anything until A2 and it isn't until A3 that he really dances. And not so much compared to Aurora. I thought Sarah Lane was gorgeous, and the way she brought her legs in from developpe to passe was worth the price of the ticket. With proper coaching, she could be one of the best.

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For me, dancing "small" is primarily a problem with projection, lack of stage presence, charisma, etc. Then it also has to do with really stretching your limbs out to the max they will go. This may be something that can be improved on (of course, so is stage presence) but is also hindered by a dancer's technical limitations. Many dancers, for example, probably do not have the extremely flexible back that Diana V has so they can't to the renversées or cambrés like she does. But Kochetkova (who can't be more than 5') is a dancer who dances much bigger than her size. Sarah did not do that, IMO. That's what I meant by dancing "small".

I also think that "dancing big" comes with experience that the ABT's system of putting certain soloists in very repetitive roles (peasant pdd, Amour in DQ, Swan Lake pdt) doesn't really foster. For instance I noticed that yesterday in Herman's variation (and Desire is really a tiny role in this production) when he started his series of entrechats and double tours he traveled almost to the apron of the stage so the audience could really SEE him doing those jaw-dropping moves. Many Auroras I've seen will actually not hold balances very long if you take out a timer, but they can give the illusion of holding them for a very long time by, for instance, holding each successive one longer, or really stretching out that final arabesque. Lane seems very determined to get all the steps right, but she hasn't learned the stage tricks and tips to really project and demand an audience's attention.

This is a very poor example because obviously Margot Fonteyn's Aurora is legendary but watch how far away she keeps each suitor during the final promenades. If you read her biography she used to give the suitor a cue as to when they could finally move closer. But anyway, the suitors being so far away in the promenades gives the illusion that she's balancing all by herself.

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That's a wonderful film clip. I wonder how many times Fonteyn did the role before arriving at that? ABT dancers have a strong disadvantage in that area. Lane didn't even have a shot at performing Aurora, in this production, before hitting the Met stage. I was actually surprised (but pleased) that she was cast.

I guess bottom line for me it that I enjoyed her performance and characterization and others found her very lacking.

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Vipa, I don't think it's unfair to compare the best with someone who's not. In fact, I think it's very fair. It shows us what one can work on to measure up against the best. Sarah Lane is a very beautiful dancer who, in order to not dance small, needs to develop better musical phrasing. It's not to say she's unmusical. In fact, I find her very musical. But, in my terms, she's too centered.

I have found, over and over again in my work on musical phrasing with dancers, that they are unaware of how they sit in the beat and when it's brought to their attention, within a few weeks they've made mighty changes. It's something I also worked on with the ballet dancer I know best, who also happened to be an Irish dancer. She used what she knew from Irish dance musical phrasing in her ballet musical phrasing and was known in her professional life for her attack and charge.

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Kochetkova (who can't be more than 5')

Seriously? Is this an exaggeration?

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Ok if it's not fair to compare Lane to the very best (Fonteyn), here is another other petite Aurora who also never attained principal status in her home company:

Here is the lovely Olesia Novikova:

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Olesya is petite? I had no idea... Is that why she isn't getting promoted?

Thank you for the great footage!

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Ok if it's not fair to compare Lane to the very best (Fonteyn), here is another other petite Aurora who also never attained principal status in her home company:

Here is the lovely Olesia Novikova:

Novikova is perfection. I believe the only reason she hasn't been promoted to principal by the Mariinsky is she's constantly pregnant (I think 3 babies in 4 years-she's married to Leonid Sarafanov). She's now pregnant again with her 4th. You can't promote someone constantly on maternity leave:(

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Amour actually I think she's on her third pregnancy and i think she had her first baby in 2009. Still a lot but ... Anyway, yes, she's very petite and also doesn't fit the Mariinsky aesthetic of being super thin either. But she's a good example of someone Lane can aspire to ... Both very similar in build.

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Amour actually I think she's on her third pregnancy and i think she had her first baby in 2009. Still a lot but ... Anyway, yes, she's very petite and also doesn't fit the Mariinsky aesthetic of being super thin either. But she's a good example of someone Lane can aspire to ... Both very similar in build.

Well, maybe to aspire to but Olesya is just wonderful, one of my favorite Mariinsky dancers. I like Sarah but she's never going to be anywhere near Olesya (who may be younger than Sarah, I'm not sure). Really, no one at ABT except Diana (who is, of course a Mariinsky dancer) is anywhere near that level of accomplishment. But ok, an aspirational goal. Also, maybe Obraztsova (who is also tiny and, IMO, not as good as Olesya) could be someone more realistic to aspire to. I know Obraztsova is now a Bolshoi principal but that was because Fateyev made it clear she was going to go nowhere at the Mariinsky.

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The Queen's Wig looked like the Bride of Frankenstein.

The Fairies looked like Busby Berkley dancers.

Princess Aurora dies and her parents are barely responsive.

Lilac is a very demanding role, and ABT puts her in Character shoes?

Dream Sequence was an insult to the gorgeous Tchaikovsky score.

The Corps was good, Orchestra Exceptional.

Boring Choreography. No big leaps, no Bravura.

Awakening scene was BORING.

I've never seen a Pas De Trois with three Females before. Boy Girl Boy is the rule.

Pantomime in the First act was not recognizable. Hard to understand. Classic Panto, I did not get this.

3rd and 4th acts were better than the 1st and 2nd.

Seo in the Rose adagio was great.

Can we bring back the Disney Version of SB? Please? That was a magnificent production.

It will travel well, that is certain.

B-, C+ Worst SB I have ever seen.

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The footage of Novikova is stunningly beautiful. I much prefer her Russian trained version to Fonteyn's. Of course, neither ballerina is dancing the awful new-old Ratmansky minimized choreography..... with heavy, longish skirts instead of light tutus.

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The seashell pedestal on which Aurora balances in A2 was also in the 'earlier' Mariinsky-1890 'new-old' staging, as many will recall. I'm wondering if there really was a 'seashell' in Diaghilev-Bakst's 1921 London production or if the shell was added because Ratmansky used the old Mariinsky notes? If the shell was indeed seen in London-1921, then I'm wondering when & why it was dropped in later stagings, as it is such a lovely moment. That balance goes so well with the music!

I guess it allows Aurora to balance for a very long time. Seo did. Lovely. I would have liked the fairies holding the attached cloth more spaceing to give it a sense of grandeur and depth.

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The Queen's Wig looked like the Bride of Frankenstein.

The Fairies looked like Busby Berkley dancers.

Princess Aurora dies and her parents are barely responsive.

Lilac is a very demanding role, and ABT puts her in Character shoes?

Dream Sequence was an insult to the gorgeous Tchaikovsky score.

The Corps was good, Orchestra Exceptional.

Boring Choreography. No big leaps, no Bravura.

Awakening scene was BORING.

I've never seen a Pas De Trois with three Females before. Boy Girl Boy is the rule.

Pantomime in the First act was not recognizable. Hard to understand. Classic Panto, I did not get this.

3rd and 4th acts were better than the 1st and 2nd.

Seo in the Rose adagio was great.

Can we bring back the Disney Version of SB? Please? That was a magnificent production.

It will travel well, that is certain.

B-, C+ Worst SB I have ever seen.

No accounting for taste but the Disney production was a travesty with all the cuts. It was awful.

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