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Caesariatus

Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, 1 Nov. 2015

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Today I saw Boston Ballet dance the Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, choreographed by John Neumeier.

My seat was in the mezzanine way over to the side. It was on the aisle, which meant that there was nobody in front of me, given the angle of the aisle, but there was a section of stage upstage left I couldn't see at all. This only mattered a few times, though, when a pdd ranged over the whole stage.

Before the performance they announced several cast changes over the intercom for which we had no written notice. I don't know how they expect us to remember those. Because of that there were some roles where I'm not sure who the dancers were.

This ballet did not particularly make me a fan of John Neumeier. He uses a lot of slow walking, a lot of staring, both one person into space and a couple into each others' eyes, and a lot of slow walking while staring. There was quite a bit of variety beyond that, though, and much of it was interesting, so there was a lot to like in there as well. He does a lot of bodily entaglement, for instance, and some of that was very well done.

I think the dance is supposed to be programmatic, but if so it went over my head. There's a dancer who is either dancing in or observing (or dreaming) pretty much each scene, whom I thought of as the Main Guy. He was danced by Lasha Khozashvili. I have to confess I wasn't particularly impressed, but not particularly unimpressed either.

The dancers who did impress me were, first, the one I thought of as the Second Guy. I'm not sure who he was, though. Looking at the BB website it seems to be Irlan Silva, but he's not listed on the program, so maybe he was one of the substitutions?

Secondly I was very impressed by a dancer I'm almost positive is Dusty Button, who didn't have a big role, but danced in a joyful series of pdds. She was incredibly graceful. I mean, all ballerinas are graceful, but she was exceptionally so.

Thirdly Erica Cornejo, who had a major role, with both a long solo and a long pdd with Khozashvili. I wasn't as blown away by her performance as I had been the first time I saw her dance (as Hermia in MSND) but she was still pretty impressive.

So I wouldn't say it was a great piece, but it had some good parts and some good dancing, and the seat was cheap. I should go to Boston more often. It's easier to get to (from central Conn.) than New York. I can visit my parents when I'm in Manhattan, but for a quick ballet fix this works out well.

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I saw several of the shows. I found the ballet somewhat pretentious and it did not make me a fan of Neumeier either. However, I applaud Boston for their undertaking of this production and for choosing to stretch their boundaries. (I recently watched several of ABT's shows and I was disappointed in the fact that they are "American Ballet Theatre" and yet so much of what they did in their rep program seemed outdated.) Anyway, just a few comments to your analysis, Caesariatus. Lasha K. had to dance the majority of the principal roles in the run. The other person cast in the role got sick during the second week of the run. Therefore, you were seeing him on his fourth run of that in one weekend. It's quite a feat to dance that role and four shows in a row could not have been easy. The secondary role was danced by Irlan who has done quite well in this run. Hopefully, he is rising to the occasion to take Jeff Cirio's place. I agree that Dusty did well in this piece. But it was the only role she danced, so she was at an advantage compared to many of the other women.

The first movement with all male dancers was impressive, but I must say I think it did drag on a bit ... nearly 35-40 minutes I believe. The rest seemed to move along more quickly. As a side note, we are probably in the minority in terms of our opinion of this production. Most of the reviews were positive and the shows were sold very, very well. What I do love about attending Boston Ballet productions is the varied audience members. They attract all ages to their shows. I remarked to my husband this summer at Jacob's Pillow and at the several shows we saw in NYC of ABT that companies need to start doing something to attract younger audience members. Boston has done that. And it's not due to any one star such as Misty Copeland. It's due to their programming.

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