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Reviews of ABT Giselle 2015


California

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Once again, this "critic" has shown that he does not exist in the same reality as I do, nor, I suspect, many others present at the Met last night. Why is this review essentially about Boylston??

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Macaulay reviewed two performances of "Giselle," the evening and matinee. He wrote one paragraph each about Abrera, including the quote below, Shklyarov, and Boylston,

Some of her dancing was luminous, and all of it was stylish and heartfelt; but above all in Act II, where the dead Giselle dances to save her living lover, Albrecht, from death, she made it clear that dance was a spiritual act. Her steps were filled with yearning for him and devotion to dance itself.

and a single line about Hammoudi.

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Once again, this "critic" has shown that he does not exist in the same reality as I do, nor, I suspect, many others present at the Met last night. Why is this review essentially about Boylston??

???

The picture is of Stella, and each ballerina gets a paragraph, of which Stella's is the longer. Admittedly, higher explicit praise is given to Isabella, but 4 negative points are mentioned for her, with none for Stella.

I am no Macaulay apologist, and I usually disagree (often in substantial ways) with his reviews. But I think his description of Stella's performance is pretty fair, from what I saw. (I did not see the matinee. I found Stella's performance to be beautiful and moving but by no means perfect.) I hardly think, based on this review at least, that he deserves the scare quotes.

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To be accurate, he wrote twice as much about Shklyarov as about Stella. But he did say Stella's performance was "luminous".smile.png

Again, ???

Stella's paragraph is 121 words; Shklyarov's is 112.

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Again, ???

Stella's paragraph is 121 words; Shklyarov's is 112.

Half of that paragraph was just background - that Stella is a soloist, that she replaced Semionova, that the audience greeted her so warmly. Only a few sentences on the actual performance. All of Shklyarov's paragraph was on his dancing last night.
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"Some of her dancing was luminous, and all of it was stylish and heartfelt; but above all in Act II, where the dead Giselle dances to save her living lover, Albrecht, from death, she made it clear that dance was a spiritual act. Her steps were filled with yearning for him and devotion to dance itself." (56 words)

"He matched Ms. Abrera in terms of devotion: Ardor beamed outward from his steps. His dozens of glittering entrechat-six — his feet rapidly crisscrossing in the air while his arms slowly ascended as if to suggest he was reaching a transcendent delirium — will stay in memory." (45 words)

The rest of both paragraphs is background.

I don't mean to be annoying. I just think there's plenty of room to bash AM's reviews without taking cheap shots. In this particular case, I think he was completely fair.

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Ok. What is "streaked" hair. Is he saying that Boylston has highlights in her hair that he dislikes? I saw her earlier this week and I did not notice anything odd about her hair. Anyone have a clue?

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Ok. What is "streaked" hair. Is he saying that Boylston has highlights in her hair that he dislikes? I saw her earlier this week and I did not notice anything odd about her hair. Anyone have a clue?

I was trying to figure out what he meant by streaked hair, too! I didnt notice any streaked hair from the balcony.

McCauley obviously favors Boylston. I've never seen him write a bad review of her. As someone who saw and enjoyed both performances on Saturday, Abrera was heads and tails better. And I, unlike many on this board, like Boylston.

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I'm not trying to bash AM. I'm actually thrilled he wrote such a positive review of last night. I expected him to rave about Shklyarov but I wasn't sure what he would say about Stella. Unless it's Sara Mearns or Osipova,(and maybe now Boylston as well), AM's reviews of women are unpredictable.

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I've been so distracted by Stella's debut that it just dawned on me that the NYT completely ignored the opening night cast (unless there are plans to mention Seo and Stearns in a Giselle wrap-up piece at the end of the run). I can't think of any other instance in the past few years in which this has happened. I think it says something that Macaulay deviated from the norm and focused on the Saturday casts, including Stella's noteworthy debut. ABT's last-minute press release about 200 alumni being in attendance might have helped, too.

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P.S. This is what Macaulay means by Boylston's streaky hair. She has some highlights that don't at all look natural, as well as very prominent, dark roots. It's pretty much in keeping with what a lot of women her age in NYC do to their hair, though.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/10/arts/dance/isabella-boylston-on-treasuring-giselle-and-trusting-herself.html

I guess it might help soften her face a bit. I agree her eyes look rather dead most of the time.

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I've been so distracted by Stella's debut that it just dawned on me that the NYT completely ignored the opening night cast (unless there are plans to mention Seo and Stearns in a Giselle wrap-up piece at the end of the run)..

Macauley was at NYCB Friday night when Hee Seo danced the opening night Giselle (I was sitting a few seats away from him). I think it might have been the first performance of Raymonda Variations this season. So I figured Macauley would review NYCB for Friday and maybe Gia review ABT. I actually didn't expect the NYT to cover the Saturday performance but I'm so glad they did.

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I'm probably reading too much into this, but I'm struck by Macaulay saying that "some" of Abreras dancing was "luminous," an adjective that would properly apply to the lead dancer in the second act of a great performance of Giselle, but not in the first. Village girls, whatever their charms, aren't luminous, whereas spirits in a white act are. In other words, if only some of Abrera's dancing was luminous, that's just as it should have been. So the phrasing seems a little odd there, as if his praise is a little grudging. And it's Boylston whom he says is moving into the front rank of the American front rank despite those opaque eyes. Odd.

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In other words, if only some of Abrera's dancing was luminous, that's just as it should have been. So the phrasing seems a little odd there...

It's only odd if you assume that, in Macaulay's eyes, the places where Stella's dancing was luminous perfectly matched up with the places where (to his mind) her dancing should have been luminous, and that the places where it was not luminous perfectly matched up with the places where it should not have been luminous.

Presumably, writing within the strict length constraints of a newspaper review, he meant to suggest that there were some places where her dancing should have been luminous but (in his eyes) was not.

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Unfortunately, we'll never know how much text the copy editor sliced out of this review. There is no mention of any character other than Giselle or Albrecht for either the matinee or evening performance. Were Myrtha and the willies so spectral that they couldn't be seen? I can't remember ever reading a review of Giselle that only commented on the lead performances.

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It's only odd if you assume that, in Macaulay's eyes, the places where Stella's dancing was luminous perfectly matched up with the places where (to his mind) her dancing should have been luminous, and that the places where it was not luminous perfectly matched up with the places where it should not have been luminous.

Presumably, writing within the strict length constraints of a newspaper review, he meant to suggest that there were some places where her dancing should have been luminous but (in his eyes) was not.

Yes, but he's a good writer and could have made that clear with only a few more words.

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I reread AM's review to be sure I didn't give him short shrift in this post. Based on what posters have said who attended Stella's performance, I think he got it right. What he seems to like about Boylston is her buoyant jumps, which others have also praised. But he didn't like her hair. This is not the first time he has criticized a dancer's hair. I'll never forget my shock when in a review several years ago he said that David Hallberg flying through the air, his long blond hair waving, looked like a member of the Hitler Youth.

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I reread AM's review to be sure I didn't give him short shrift in this post. Based on what posters have said who attended Stella's performance, I think he got it right. What he seems to like about Boylston is her buoyant jumps, which others have also praised. But he didn't like her hair. This is not the first time he has criticized a dancer's hair. I'll never forget my shock when in a review several years ago he said that David Hallberg flying through the air, his long blond hair waving, looked like a member of the Hitler Youth.

I thought the dancer he was referring to was Ethan Steifel. Regardless, I too was shocked and almost wrote a letter to the Times to complain. I decided I was too angry to write anything appropriate.

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Here's the "Hitler youth" crack, from 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/19/arts/dance/19gala.html?_r=0

Although “Don Quixote” features Spanish characters, Ethan Stiefel appeared with his hair so ultra-blond that he looked as if he were auditioning for the Hitler Youth.

Can you say "tasteless"? If he wanted to say something clever about the blond hair, how about saying it looked like he was auditioning for the Royal Danish Ballet. I'm surprised his editor let that one slip through.

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Macaulay obviously dislikes dye jobs. (I can't say I completely disagree with him about that.)

From Harss:

a sense of proportion and taste, something that can be lost in star performances straining for this or that memorable effect.

Amen to that. For some time now I've felt a rant coming on about the damage that "stars"--a relative term, given ballet's very modest popularity--are doing to the art form, and she identifies one of their bigger sins.

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