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Spring 2015: The Sleeping Beauty

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Agree with Natalia and several other posts about talents from the JKO school: Waski, Trenary, Brandt, Baca, Giangeruso and many others. Just hope the AD realizes he needs to nuture these talents like Martins do for SAB dancers, instead of spending more funds on guests.

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Giangeruso *is* good in the Violente variation. I don't care for Ratmansky's rethinking of the port-de-bras to make it as goofy and silly as iit now is. It breaks the general classical tone of the fairies suite, IMO. Canari, as quick as she is, still fits into the majesty of the proceedings. Not this new goofy Violente, IMO. But that doesn't kill the overall wonder of the staging.

Natalia, what makes you think that this is Ratmansky's rethinking of the port-de-bras, rather than what he found in the notations? Not that its (perhaps) being "authentic" means you necessarily have to like it. I'm just wondering about the basis of your comment.

I didn't get the impression that the aim of the choreography was to be "goofy and silly."

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I in fact attended a rehearsal in which Giangeruso delivered the exact Petipa notes as told to her by Ratmansky. It really was an amazing thing to watch, seeing a dancer adapt so amazingly to a different style of dancing. The deep bends in elbows, triple chainee turns in 2 counts, lightning speed double rondejambes, and traveling hops on pointe. While not so much reflected in the other 2 dancers who dance this variation, I can assure you that April is showcasing Petipa Violente at its best. As noted by Alastair Macaulay in the premiere run of Sleeping Beauty in California, Giangeruso was a standout among the fairies. Like it or not, this variation is not "goofy" or "daffy" but indeed a special treat and showcases true "Temperament" at its best!

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I in fact attended a rehearsal in which Giangeruso delivered the exact Petipa notes as told to her by Ratmansky. It really was an amazing thing to watch, seeing a dancer adapt so amazingly to a different style of dancing. The deep bends in elbows, triple chainee turns in 2 counts, lightning speed double rondejambes, and traveling hops on pointe...

Nanushka, in several interviews previewing the work, both Ratmansky and Fullington have stated that the use/placement of arms and hands are missing from the Sergeyev notes.

These two posts seem to contradict one another. Is it true that there are no notations of use/placement of arms and hands whatsoever in the Sergeyev notes? Does anyone have a source on that? I'm curious whether Ratmansky, in those interviews, was saying that there were none, or whether he was saying they were occasionally missing. I'd be interested to learn more about the extent to which Ratmansky found his choreography in the notations and the extent to which he had to make surmises or add ideas of his own.

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I did a cursory search and see Helene quoted Doug Fullington saying Violente was supposed to signify electricity--something I had forgotten; in that case, at the risk of being way too literal, I suppose the bent elbow could recall the zig-zag of lightning. In the theater I found it made the "pointing" seem more playful and perhaps even flirty (but not, to my eyes, what Natalia called "goofy")...and with Giangeruso's performance one also felt the full force of a strong and charming personality which I really loved.

Generally, I respect the all-out effort to take us, as Lopukhov might say, "forward to Petipa" and I am not uninterested in ballet history, but I assume a certain amount of intuition goes into any reconstruction that is also a living work of art. Which this is.

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Ok as I endure an unusually long wait for the 1 train....

The highlights tonight were - by far - the bluebird pas de deux and the grand pas. But it took a really long time to get there. The prologue had a couple of decent moments but was way too long and rather unexciting. It picked up once Sarah made her entrance. I was nervous for her rose adagio having read the reviews here of her last attempt. She seemed to have trouble getting her balance early on but the rest she did perfectly well.

I saw her two years ago when I was new to ballet and had never heard of the rose adagio and that scene was mesmerizing. It remains my all time favorite ballet moment. This time was less dramatic.

Sarah had trouble balancing a few times and her partners were reluctant to let go. She also seemed to make some abrupt less than graceful movements. But she never lost her smile.

Act 2 was blah. Act 3 was better. Misty Copeland and Gabe Stone Shayer whom I never heard of were terrific in the bluebird pdd. Sarah and Herman were great in the grand pas adagio and Herman did at least 8 entrachat six,'s in the variation which he did not do in Giselle. I love Herman but that red getup in act 2 and the white wig in the grand pas do not suit him.

Overall this was long evening. I found myself checking my watch a number of times which I normally don't do. I'm glad to have seen the new version, but don't expect to be revisiting SB for a while.

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From Joan Acocella's article (June 8) in "The New Yorker,"

In the twentieth century there was a strong anti-narrative trend in some quarters of the ballet world: storytelling was seen as corny. Consequently, a great deal of the mime, or hand-talk, in the nineteenth-century ballets was dropped. According to Ratmansky, this was definitely the case with “The Sleeping Beauty.” In the movement score he found much more mime than we see in today’s productions, and he says he restored every scrap of it.

What a relief! When twentieth-century stagers dumped the mime, they didn’t ordinarily eliminate the music to which it was set. So what we got, quite often, was somebody sort of bumbling around, doing a bit of this and a bit of that, until the music for the banished mime came to an end.


I had forgotten that in the original musical score for "Giselle" there were mime and stage directions.

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I'll write my full review later tomorrow (have to be up very early) but I thought Herman absolutely nailed the difficult Act 3 variation. His entrechats and double tours were amazing. Sarah Lane kind of broke my heart tonight. I so wanted this to be the performance that she knocked out of the ballpark to show KM that she's worthy of principal material. However, I think she suffers from the "too many peasant pdd" syndrome. She was always professional, and at time excellent, but there were also enough bobbles and moments of hesitation. Copeland and Shayer good in the Florine/BB pdd. Prologue fairies pretty sloppy, especially Devon Teuscher's Lilac Fairy.

As I said, more later.

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Just got back from my first viewing of SB. I admire the artistic vision and internal integrity of the production. I am glad I saw it but over all it did not work for me. To any ballet goer I would say see it, but do not let it be the only SB you see. It reminded me of going to a concert of baroque music played on period instruments. It is interesting and has a special kind of beauty but neither the audience nor the players can lose their modern experiences and sensibilities. All the performers can do is simulate their idea of a performance from another time. Those performers from the past were going full out technically. To simulate it, today's performers have to hold back. For the most part that's what tonight's performance looked like to me. Almost everyone looked like they were coached to death, dancing very carefully and were afraid to cover space. Sarah Lane, tonight's Aurora, was the first one who brought life to the stage. She was vibrant, real and dancing musically. Up until that point every one looked totally studied.

Lane, I thought was wonderful. I've seen her Rose Adagio more secure in the past but there were no flubs. Her characterization detailed and lovely, her dancing musical and technically assured. She was just beautiful. For my money she has the most gorgeous port de bras out there.

Cornejo was brilliant in his solo. I wish he had more dancing to do. He and Lane looked wonderful together.

Lilac Fairy - Devon Teuscher was fine but I wish it was more of a dancing role. Her costume is a bit Los Vegas

Blue Bird - Copeland & Gabe Stone Shayer. I think going back in time makes both variations, but especially the man's, less interesting. He has a lot of facility, Copeland looked good but seemed penned in by the restraints of the choreography.

Skylar Brandt did Diamond Fairy well. She looked like she was dancing with some freedom. Gold, Silver, Sapphire looked studied and cautious as did the fairies in the prologue. Is there no room for musical imagination in this production?

Overall the thing is way too long. IMO there is really no need to put back the divertissement that have faded away over time.

So, I'm in the odd position of saying that I'm glad I saw it, but probably won't be back to see it again.

Sarah Lane looked like a real ballerina. She will never be a principal with ABT but for me she is the real deal.

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Although I like this production, I agree (w. Vipa above) that I wouldn't want it to be my only Sleeping Beauty or recommend that it be anyone else's ...

But I'm also quite glad that we now have this one which I think will also come to change the way I see other productions (including some elements that I probably prefer 'modernized').

Sorry I didn't get to see Lane's Aurora.

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On the other hand, I don't 'get' Skylar Brandt with her flat feet and clunky batterie as Diamond in A3; Boylston 100 times superior at opening night, with her elevation, elan,and gorgeous arched feet...and the presentation of feet is a leitmotif of Diamond.

On Monday I saw Bella as the Diamond Fairy and tonight I saw Skylar and I feel just the reverse. Bella has a bigger jump but her upper body, I think is terrible, especially her arms and those floppy wrists drive me crazy. I thought Skylar is beautifully proportioned and has lovely upper body, especially those expressive arms. Although, with the exception of Herman and Skylar, I thought no one in tonight's cast looked very good, especially compared to Monday.

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Canbelto, talk about sloppy, the corps fairies were a mess tonight. When (maybe after the garland scene?) every leg in arabesque on stage right was at a different height. I felt like shouting at them to just peek over at each other and fix that mess. Geez.

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As Bluebird, I definitely did not like Gabe Stone Shayer. He can jump but lacks both the quick footwork and the pliancy in the torso to get those beats really front and back. Daniil was much better on Monday. But BOTH of them could take a lesson fron NYCB's Anthony Huxley. Between his James and his Oberon, you can see Anthony really has GREAT batterie. Just goes to show you how much this new SB is like Bournonville.

Misty as Florine, Blech. No she didn't fall off her hops but there are only 3 hops on each leg. Is that so unmanageable? There are more hops in the 1st Shade variation in Bayadère. And my husband, who sometimes defends Misty, saw her variation and gave me the thumbs down. Just not interesting or delicate and she always projects that same fake smile persona, whether it's appropriate to the role or not.

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About Sarah, I love her, but this choreography doesn't really suit her. She is classical but tends to dance small. For example, the renversées Diana did on Monday were really full. Diana put her whole back into it. Sarah kind of just stuck her head and shoulders for a minute to the back. And all the low legs, no flashy fish dives? I mean Sarah did well ienough in the Rose Adagio balances (though she slipped and fell on her butt a few minutes later). Also, her solo variation in the wedding pas was done very well. But, again, these low legs are not flattering to a small dancer. And if you're small, you have to do everything very full out (like those renversēes). Also you need more stage presence and charisma. Not the fake kind, like Misty, but look at Sterling Hyltin or Makarova (she's tiny) or Misha or Nureyev. Even Stella has more stage presence lately. Of I course, if you don't dance enough, it's hard to do this. But whenever she's on stage Sarah needs, IMO, to be able to project more, be more dramatic, even. Then I think we'd see more improvement and maybe more roles.

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I thought SB tonight, without the benefit of Diana, Veronika, Marcelo, Stella and Daniil, looked like a totally different ballet, and not in a good way. I was all too aware of the changes in the Lilac Fairy variation and the fact that Prince Desiré's role has essentially been reduced to nothing. Frankly, where on Monday I was wowed, tonight I thought the ballet was boring. The Vision Scene didn't come off well at all and really only the 3rd act was fun, with more familiar choreography. And to think we'll have this ballet for years. I just don't know:(

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Right, I forgot that last night was supposed to be the Osipova Sarafanov cast. That may very well explain the full house. The Vishneva Gomes show on MOnday sold well too, but not quite as heavily. Maybe that will be ABt's new strategy going forward - advertise superstar Russian guest artists and then switch the cast.

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

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Back in DC after taking the 3am Amtrak, following last night's performance. Finally back home after 10 days in Brazil + two days of BEAUTY OVERLOAD. So how did my last SB go? I may have 'overloaded' a bit too much, alas.

Sarah Lane was the least satisfying of the four Auroras that I saw at the Met (Murphy, Seo and Boylston being the others). Lane, while technically adept and neat, for the most part, is a tiny soloist who dances in a small manner. I was back in the 'cheap seats' way up high last night; perhaps Lane would have seemed grander from Orchestra? Nonetheless, I clearly noticed her shakiness and trepidation during the Rose Adagio. Even Hee Seo was more solid in her technique and overall balance. On the other hand, Cornejo's Desire A3 variation was clearly the most spectacularly performed among my four Princes...but I still prefer the overall look and aristocratic style of Gorak best of all...he wore that Capt. Crunch get-up the best!

Misty & Gabe were simply magnificent. Misty - now there's a short dancer who can dance 'big' and project to the highest cheap seats; no binoculars needed!

Overload over...thanks ABT and Team Ratmansky! Bravi tutti!!! So now I'll count down the months before the next BEAUTY OVERLOAD comes to the Kennedy Center next winter.

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Huh? When was that?

After she pricked her finger, in the corner of the stage with the King & Queen fussing over her she did indeed fall right on her butt.

I was sitting very close and her performance read well in the front of the house, I thought she was lovely. I've seen this production 4 times now, with 2 more to go and I continue to be enthralled by it

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Interesting. I saw her fall, but I thought that was part of the show.

I think a lot of the audience thought so too. There wasn't the usual gasp on hears when a dancer falls. I think she slipped on the queens cape. It was during the prick a finger acting scene, not mid dance so I could easily see how one could think is was part of the show.

I was in Dress Circle and didn't think Lane danced small. Her port de bras so generous and open that it makes me love her.

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. Just goes to show you how much this new SB is like Bournonville.

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.

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