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ABT 2016 DC Tour 1/27-1/31

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You're most welcome!

My one remaining "peeve" from the 2015 Met run, which has yet to be corrected, and which I didn't want to mention in the review because it's so trivial but important to me:

In the A3 Hop-o-my-Thumb (Pas Berrichon) episode, the Ogre's boots and belt still display dangling pieces of dead babies. Did the 1921 Bakst designs show this? Is it a Ratmansky/Hudson addition for "reality's sake"? The 1890 Vsevolovsky designs for the Mariinsky, AS REPLICATED in the 1999 reconstruction, did not. [Edited to add: RG shows us photo of Ogre from 1890 with the baby bits; the Mariinsky chose to omit this detail in their 1999 recon...thankfully!] The Ogre takes out a butcher knife to terrorize the kids and I get it. I find the creepy baby heads and other body parts sickening in an otherwise beautiful divertissement.

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Thank you for your report, Natalia :flowers:

In other news, it's official now that Part has been replaced for her second performance as well (Teuscher is taking her place for the Sat. matinee performance; she will be dancing Lilac double duty on Saturday as she's also doing the evening show). I wonder what is happening with her? She was replaced on Nutcracker and now here as well. Whatever it is, I hope it gets resolved soon so she'll be A-okay for the Met season.

I like Teuscher, but I'm a little bummed by this, as I'm seeing the Sat matinee and evening, and I would have preferred to see two different lilacs. Oh well. Looking forward to Saturday.

Other than construction, how ow are the roads in and around the Kennedy Center? All plowed up, I assume?

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Other than construction, how ow are the roads in and around the Kennedy Center? All plowed up, I assume?

On Wednesday evening, the roads around the Kennedy Center were typical of other roads in the DC area. The rightmost lane of Virginia Avenue was unusable. Ditto for 23rd Street (I got to the KC via the Memorial Bridge). Fortunately, traffic in the downtown area was much lighter than normal. I really don't understand why it is taking more than 4 days to clear the roads, especially when 70 percent of the snow has melted.

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re: the Ogre and Ogress - turns out, it would seem, that the Vikharev/Mariinsky reconstruction opted to exclude the costume detail noted above by Natalia, (see attached scan) which shows a detail of a Mariinsky Theater cabinet card from the 1890 production with Mikhail Obukhov, if the caption Konstantinova's SPYASHAYA KRASAITSA is correct, as the Act 3 Ogre in Vsevolozhsky's design of the time.)

thus it would follow that Hudson chose to make reference to this 1890s costuming for Ratmansky's production.

post-848-0-05461000-1454002497_thumb.jpg

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I hope nothing was cut as Kennedy Center lists 2 3/4 hours running time, at the Met it's 3 hours.

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Thanks, RG. I had not seen that pic! As you say, the 1999 Mariinsky recon did not show these baby bits (!).

Now the $64k question: If the 2015 Hudson designs for ABT followed the 1921 Bakst designs, why select this one yucky costume from 1890 to follow? Or...did the 1921 Bakst designs indeed include these details and, if so, was this the taste of Diaghilev? Just curious. (I don't want to think that the ABT production is an A-la-Mode Mish Mash.)

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I hope nothing was cut as Kennedy Center lists 2 3/4 hours running time, at the Met it's 3 hours.

Mussel- I mention the only alterations in my review above. Nothing cut but several numbers tightened or quickened in tempo...less opportunities for applause after small solos. (For ex., Bluebirds not given chance to come out for bows after their pdd but Simkin & Trenary remained on stage after their respective solos to absorb the huge applause for each, so at least they got that.) The two intermissions in DC seemed briefer than in NY, especially the 2nd one. In DC, began at 7pm and ended about 9:45, then bows.

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Thanks, Natalia. If there's no conflict with NYCB I'd definitely go to DC to escape piles of snow here.

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ABT followers may be interested in noting who, among the younger/newer female corps, will be dancing several solos or featured roles in the coming days, who weren't featured (or not featured so much) during the 2015 summer at the Met...at least not in the casts that I attended in late May/early June. These are being featured several times in DC...the favored up-and-comers:

Betsy McBride

Rachel Richardson

Catherine Hurlin (Violente, Red Hood, Cinderella)

Brittany DeGrofft

Jin Zhang

Lily Wisdom

As in NY, a DC audiences will have several chances to admire Waski, Fang, Lavine, Post, and other corps ladies in solo fairy roles.

On my way to Europe, including the Swan Lake premiere in Zurich the following weekend, so I'm sorry to be missing the rest of this ABT run in DC and these solo-role debuts. Hope that other BAers can report. :)

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ABT followers may be interested in noting who, among the younger/newer female corps, will be dancing several solos or featured roles in the coming days, who weren't featured (or not featured so much) during the 2015 summer at the Met...at least not in the casts that I attended in late May/early June. These are being featured several times in DC...the favored up-and-comers:

Betsy McBride

Rachel Richardson

Catherine Hurlin (Violente, Red Hood, Cinderella)

Brittany DeGrofft

Jin Zhang

Lily Wisdom

As in NY, a DC audiences will have several chances to admire Waski, Fang, Lavine, Post, and other corps ladies in solo fairy roles.

On my way to Europe, including the Swan Lake premiere in Zurich the following weekend, so I'm sorry to be missing the rest of this ABT run in DC and these solo-role debuts. Hope that other BAers can report. :)

Thank you Natalia for your detailed review and excited to hear about the SL premiere in Zurich! Bon Voyage :) ! I am just wondering where these ladies are listed as I can't seem to find any on the ABT site? My grand-daughter is a fan of Waski and only showed this to me so far: <https://www.instagram.com/p/BBD5zF2Pfk5/?taken-by=powi295>

Wish I was able to get down there but I am lucky I wasn't buried in the blizzard! NYC is no better than DC with some areas, but I have to say thankfully the warm sun is melting it all away!!

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acc'd to Beaumont (p. 476 in my edition of his Complete Book of Ballet), Diaghilev's SLEEPING PRINCESS omitted two divertissements: Cinderella and Hop o'my Thumb, his Brothers, and the Ogre, thus there was no 1921 design scheme to follow for Hudson's production.

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Thank you for your wonderfully detailed reviews, Natalia. I love reading them. Also, thanks for your update on the corps. Catherine Hurlin is certainly taking off fast!

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Lavine posted on her instagram that she thought it was looking good for her to dance one of the fairies a couple of weeks ago. Hope I get to see her perform, I really think she is quite talented!

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Sorry, they are listed on the printed playbill...I just noticed that the above 'newbies' were sprinkled throughout the run. I don't have the playbill with me...in office gathering things for trip (for legit work...not just Zurich..haha).

RG, yes, that explains that. Thanks. It's not as if Hudson could have dressed the ogre as one of the Three Ivans (who were in the 1921 version & later in Sadlers Wells)!

I'd still like to clean-up those crazy boots...hard to ignore. At least the La-Z Boys were fixed.

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Sorry, they are listed on the printed playbill...I just noticed that the above 'newbies' were sprinkled throughout the run. I don't have the playbill with me...in office gathering things for trip (for legit work...not just Zurich..haha).

RG, yes, that explains that. Thanks. It's not as if Hudson could have dressed the ogre as one of the Three Ivans (who were in the 1921 version & later in Sadlers Wells)!

I'd still like to clean-up those crazy boots...hard to ignore. At least the La-Z Boys were fixed.

Safe travels! Enjoy the show in Zurich :) Have to agree about the ogre as I was not a big fan from the Met performance and thought that was a bit over the top myself :yucky:

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On a side note and not sure if this is the thread to post, but while I was on the ABT site looking for Natalia's list I noticed too that the March program isn't listing Turkey performances? Wondering if that has been removed due to lack of ticket sales?

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On a side note and not sure if this is the thread to post, but while I was on the ABT site looking for Natalia's list I noticed too that the March program isn't listing Turkey performances? Wondering if that has been removed due to lack of ticket sales?

I would think that this was more due to the recent bombing in Istanbul and the potential dangers of travel in the area.

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The snow on Virginia Avenue and on 23rd Street was cleared off Thursday night. There shouldn't be anything more than the normal hassles getting into the Kennedy Center for the remainder of the shows.

There has been a pick-up in ticket sales. I'm going to have to decide pretty quickly if I'm going to go to the Sunday evening performance.

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I was very happy to see this production with Hee Seo and Marcelo Gomes last night. It's the first time I've seen a classical production of Sleeping Beauty live. Regarding reconstruction's style, I thought that the lower arabesques, the pirouettes in the coupé, and Bournonville-esque small jumps all looked quite lovely, but that the chaines on relevé looked awkward. The costumes were very pretty from my seat; I thought Carabosse's costume was fantastic. However, the wigs were horrible: both ugly and made it extremely difficult to differentiate the corps members in the prologue. And why does an asian Aurora have to be blond? It makes no sense (maybe there's some historical context I'm missing?).

As for the dancing: Marcelo Gomes is as lovely as ever -- when he's on stage he's all you look at. Such charisma. Unfortunately the same cannot be Hee Seo -- she was really very pretty, but at times she blended in with the corps (vision scene). Neither she nor Christine Schevenko as Lilac had that "star quality"/sparkle that I'm used to seeing (I mostly attend City Ballet and have been fortunate to see multiple performances featuring both Sara Mearns and Tiler Peck). Nevertheless, I thought her Rose Adagio was quite strong and was impressed with how long she held her unsupported arabesque after the balances.

Among the younger generation, I thought Skyler Brandt was a stunning Diamond Fairy (so much sparkle!) and Catherine Hurlin an adorable and hilarious White Cat. April Giangeruso stood out among the Prologue fairies, and even though the choreography for her solo variation was rather unfortunate, she still brought a tremendous amount of well-appreciated energy. Zhiyao Zhang was incredible as Bluebird -- such clean jumps and gorgeous upper body fluidity. Finally, Courtney Lavine has gorgeous lines and I pretty much only watched her whenever the corps was on stage -- I would have loved to see her take on a solo.

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We have long curly and straight hair wigs at the start. For act 3 we change costumes and white powered wigs.

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Made it to DC! Looking forward to double ABT duty tomorrow, especially since I did not get to see Boylston and Lane last year at the Met! Even though I did see Gillian, I'm kind of wishing I got tickets for tonight because my hotel is boring!

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Tonight, for the first time, I get the Sarah Lane love. In the past, I haven't really been that enthralled by her for some reason, but I'm loving her tonight. Even though she fell off pointe in the beginning of the rose adagio, I thought her act 1 was pretty amazing. She is very believable in the role. And other than Gillian, she is the best at handling those chaine turns on demi-pointe.

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I'm back home after an awesome weekend in DC. I am super happy I made this trip. Yesterday's performances mark the fourth and fifth time I've seen Ratmansky's Beauty, and I fall in love with it more every time I see it. I've gotten to the point that the wigs no longer bother me!

First, I'll start with the lilac fairy, Devon Teuscher, since she danced both in the matinee and the evening performance. I thought she was good, but she had a lot of technical issues with the tricky turn sequence at the end of the lilac variation, so much so that it was noticeable to even those of us with no dance training. Out of all the casts I've seen, the only one to nail that sequence is Abrera (which, by the way, I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE AS AURORA!). But despite those issues, she did well, and really commanded the stage better this time than in the past. Off topic of Teuscher, I still hate the mullet lilac fairy costume for the second and third acts. I feel like the lilac fairy should be walking in to an 1860's saloon and have a southern accent.

The Auroras for the day were Boylston and Lane. Boylston was technically more secure in the first act, and while had a few minor wobbles in the balances, really nailed her rose adagio. I thought her second act vision scene was a bit weaker (with some minor miscues in some turns). Her act 3 was great, especially the duet between her and Gorak. But while overall she was technically more secure (and I did greatly enjoy her performance) she wasn't as believable in the artistry of the character as Sarah Lane was. I already mentioned it above, but last nights performance made me a Sarah Lane convert. I don't care that she fell off pointe in the first balances of the rose adagio. She made me believe she was Aurora. I got goosebumps during her vision scene and act 3 pdd. When she tenderly laid her head on Cornejo's shoulder, it felt believable that they were in love.

And oh, Herman Cornejo!!! I don't think there are adjectives to describe him, he was that amazing. Of all the casts I've seen of this ballet, he was the best Prince Desire. His footwork during his variation was so crisp and clean and fast. His acting was always spot on, and he had an awesome connection with Lane. Since I've been going to ABT, I haven't had the chance to see Cornejo in a lot of things, but I'm going to make sure I start seeing more of him while I have the chance. Oh and his red Jack Sparrow jacket was tailored better to him, so it didn't look like he was swimming in it this time! Unfortunately, I have less to say of Gorak's performance, not because he didn't do a fine job, but Cornejo was just that good that I can't remember him as well.

Bluebird and Florine--For the early show, it was Simkin and Trenary and they brought the house down. Simkin is so technically awesome and gets such height on his jumps, it's amazing. He really looks like he's flying, which is perfect for Bluebird. Trenary was also a very good Florine, but she was even better in the night performance in the precious jewels (Diamond). For the evening performance, Whiteside filled in for Hoven as Bluebird and Abrera danced Florine. I was impressed with both of them, and I was impressed with the partnering despite the last minute substitution. As far as I know, I don't think Abrera dances with Whiteside all that frequently?

The garland waltz was fantastic. There are still alot of people on stage, but it's been tightened and cleaned up and looks really good (especially when you are sitting higher up). Ratmansky really creates some beautiful shapes with both his dancers and the flowers. The kids all did a fantastic job, so congrats to them.

Other things I noticed:

- Like others, I don't really get Shevchenko. I don't know what it is about her, but I just don't feel much watching her dance. She wasn't as sharp and quick as Trenary as Diamond. She's obviously very talented, just not my cup of tea for some reason.

- Courtney Lavine finally got a fairy solo and she was as lovely as we all knew she would be! Please let's see more of her!

- Skylar Brandt is awesome as the canary fairy. She's my favorite in that role.

Overall, ABT did an outstanding job. The KC was nearly sold out, and they received standing ovations for both performances. I think the company is in very good shape right now. There are so many young dancers that I'm excited about: Trenary, Brandt, Waski, Lavine, Royal, Hurlin, Richardson. And it was so good to see some of these younger folks get opportunties in DC!

Last but not least, I totally love Ratmansky. I think that man is a genius and I'm so glad he's based out of ABT. This version of Sleeping Beauty is so touching and full of warmth. (I am in love with the vision scene, especially!) Yes, the style of the dancing is different and it lacks the sky high extensions and acrobatics, but it gains lightning fast footwork, beautiful sweeping arms and warmth! I think the company as a whole is getting used to it, so it's looking so much crisper than it did in the spring.

Can't wait for the Met season! Especially STELLA as AURORA!!!!! :) :)

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