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ABT 2016 La Fille Mal Gardee


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A very enjoyable evening...I thought Boylston took a few minutes to warm up, but once she was underway I liked her very much. Cirio was also very good, though he is perhaps not so strong a turner as he is a jumper. Zhurbin was a funny Widow Simone and what I also appreciated about the evening was that the whole ensemble looked to be dancing with devotion--as if THEY enjoyed the ballet. Which I hope they did.

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A very enjoyable evening...I thought Boylston took a few minutes to warm up, but once she was underway I liked her very much. Cirio was also very good, though he is perhaps not so strong a turner as he is a jumper. Zhurbin was a funny Widow Simone and what I also appreciated about the evening was that the whole ensemble looked to be dancing with devotion--as if THEY enjoyed the ballet. Which I hope they did.

Actually Cirio is a pretty good turner. I follow him on instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/9UtX_Cj_0B/?taken-by=jeffreycirio

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Actually Cirio is a pretty good turner. I follow him on instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/9UtX_Cj_0B/?taken-by=jeffreycirio

Then perhaps it was an atypical night. Everything was good by the way--but a series of pirouettes was just a tad uncontrolled/sloppy where they needed to be very fast and crisp (I don't know how to describe the little Ashton touches) and a final set of tours a la seconde alternating with pirouettes [edited to say more like tours a la seconde alternating with double fouetees] while well executed, seemed slow. Both 'big' moments in the choreography that got comparably modest reactions from the audience (which the rest of his dancing did not). I would still have said not bad at all but in comparison with his smooth, easy jumps, graceful partnering and generally assured manner--a little less impressive. My main point is that it was a very enjoyable evening.

(While we are on the subject of things dancers sometimes do more but sometimes less well--I don't think I have ever seen Boylston's arms and hands so charmingly deployed. Her mime too in the famous daydreaming scene was completely natural. I am guessing the stager (Malin Thoors) or, at any rate, someone gave her some good guidance. In Ratmansky's Chamber symphony I had found Boylston prosaic when she needed to be poetic, but with Lise--admitedly a kind of prosaic heroine--I thought new layers were emerging in her dancing.)

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After this afternoon's and this evenings performances, I'd say ABT was 3 for 3 with Fille, though different casts had slightly different strengths and I have my own personal preferences in any case. But I will single out Copeland and Cornejo's absolutely magical account of the final pas de deux as a particular highlight of the performances I saw.

(Unfortunately, my ballet-going is now over for at least a couple of months and I will miss Abrera.)

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Well it's nice to see the American (or, perhaps Fil-Am) principals and soloists given opportunities to grow and shine at ABT! Maybe Kevin McKenzie knows what he's doing after all.

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I saw Abrera and Whiteside last night. I am not a huge fan of La Fille Mal Gardee. It was great to see Stella in a lead role (to think of all those years we were robbed). I do however think she looked a little weak at times. Her jump seemed to lag at times and she certainly isn't the ballerina to bust out multiple pirouettes. What she lacked in virtuosity, she made up for in her beauty/artistry. She looked so beautiful in the final Pas de Deux. I'm still not sold on Whiteside. To me, he isn't of the caliber of some international star. He gets the job done, but has some short comings. He lacks length and his dancing looks small and "tight" at times. I think he is another example of the lack of good coaches at ABT. Sometimes, including last night with Abrera, I don't feel that he cultivates chemistry with his partners. Abrera seemed to be really trying to "give him something to work with", but he didn't really seem to return the favor.

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I saw Abrera and Whiteside last night. I am not a huge fan of La Fille Mal Gardee. It was great to see Stella in a lead role (to think of all those years we were robbed). I do however think she looked a little weak at times. Her jump seemed to lag at times and she certainly isn't the ballerina to bust out multiple pirouettes. What she lacked in virtuosity, she made up for in her beauty/artistry. She looked so beautiful in the final Pas de Deux. I'm still not sold on Whiteside. To me, he isn't of the caliber of some international star. He gets the job done, but has some short comings. He lacks length and his dancing looks small and "tight" at times. I think he is another example of the lack of good coaches at ABT. Sometimes, including last night with Abrera, I don't feel that he cultivates chemistry with his partners. Abrera seemed to be really trying to "give him something to work with", but he didn't really seem to return the favor.

You beat me to a post Dancerboy90210 :) I felt likewise after the show and wondered if Abrera's lagging jumps had anything to do with her past injuries?! I know age doesn't help the healing process, but I may be wrong. As for Whiteside, I know many on BA are fans but I do have to agree, and IMO, I have often felt he is dancing for himself, he is good technically but there is a lack of emotions or almost forced emotions.

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This was my first time seeing Fille, and I must admit that I, too, am not a fan. I don't think any ballet has ever packed in so many endless peasant dances, though they are more interesting than many we see in other ballets. The cheery, pastoral tone of the work is nice at first, but it starts to get a bit tired as the evening progresses. It's all a bit one-note. The second act is particularly bad: It's all gags and peasant dances until Lise and Colas finally dance together. And much like some of the slapstick comedy in Cinderella, the humor in Fille seems rather stale and dated. Is it really that funny to see Widow Simone spank Lise several times? What may have set mid-twentieth-century British audiences roaring just doesn't work today. It's quaint, but not very entertaining.

Throughout much of the evening, I found myself waiting for the "real dancing" to begin. The first act does have some wonderful moments for Lise and Colas. I just wish the ballet had some soloist roles that could also provide exciting dance moments. The dim-witted suitor's endless antics are probably among the most tiresome elements of this ballet.

That said, I found Abrera and Whiteside to both be lovely. What Dancerboy90210 says of Abrera's technical weaknesses in some areas may be true, but she seemed just about as perfect as one could be for the role of Lise. Brimming with warmth, delicacy and good humor. Whiteside's partnering was spot-on and I thought he looked excellent in all of his variations. Wonderful leaps and incredibly strong turns. His hair and makeup were toned-down and tasteful. Some have argued that he seems to dance only for himself; last night, I thought he was very attentive to Abrera and not at all showboaty.

Gomes was wonderfully hammy as Widow Simone. His antics and clog dance would have been more enjoyable if the whole ballet hadn't been filled with tired gags and endless cutesy interactions.

If there's one example that sums up what's problematic about this ballet, it's the maypole dance. After Lise does the promenade holding ribbons (essentially acting as a human maypole), Ashton then follows it up with an actual maypole dance, and one that's not very interesting. Why follow up a spectacular dance moment with something so boring and pedestrian? I guess Ashton liked the parallel...

Anyways, I think this is a ballet for the archives, not for today's audiences...

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I saw Wednesday's performance with Cornejo and Copeland. I enjoyed the ballet and its cheery charm, but this is definitely not one I could see year after year like Swan Lake and SB. I agree there is too much mime, too many silly gags and too little actual dancing. I too felt that the second act was mostly boring until the very end when Lise and Colas finally had their difficult pdd. By that time, I think I had "checked out" mentally. Seeing some other casts this weekend. It is certainly a family friendly ballet, so I hope parents are bringing their kids to this. I much prefer Ashton's Sylvia and the Dream to Fille.

Bring on the Peitpa please.

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Just wanted to clarify that I am a HUGE Stella fan. I agree that Stella's characterization of Lise was near perfect, however flawed the ballet might be. I think that McKenize's casting choices do not always hit the mark. The character of Lise, to me, doesn't have much depth nor require much artistic range. It is the perfect ballet for Misty. After her Giselle, it is clear that Stella can knock it out of the park artistically. If I were picking a new role for her to debut this Met Season, Juliet would be the first that comes to mind. I think she has the artistic range to successfully take on McMillan ballets and maybe Odette/Odile before its too late. I'd buy a ticket today to see her tackle Manon! Mckenzie doesn't seem to be casting Stella in ballets that will ultimate have the greatest impact.

Considering that La Fille Mal Gardee seems targeted to families, it was depressing to see such low attendance. ABT must be suffering from a large decline in ticket sales, because I haven't ever observed such empty audiences in my years of attending their Met Season. To fix this, I hope that they focus on more innovative programing and creating "stars" internally and don't go back to being a company of guest artists. The lackluster attendance is yet another sign that McKenize needs to go! Whiteside is a great example of ABT's inability to cultivate stars. He is no Ethan, Jose or Angel! He doesn't give performances that stick in my mind more than an hour after I depart Lincoln Center. He has all the ingredients but seems to lack the coach that brings it all together.

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This is the second time I've seen Fille. The first was with Nadia Nerina and David Blair when the RB was on tour! and I loved it!

It took me to happy-ending-land. I thought Stella, Aaron Scott, and Marcello were wonderful. When Whiteside first saw the ribbon sTella left for him I thought "oh dear," needs acting coach! But forgave him. Loved it!

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This is the second time I've seen Fille. The first was with Nadia Nerina and David Blair when the RB was on tour! and I loved it!

It took me to happy-ending-land. I thought Stella, Aaron Scott, and Marcello were wonderful. When Whiteside first saw the ribbon sTella left for him I thought "oh dear," needs acting coach! But forgave him. Loved it!

Lucky you! You must have seen Alexander Grant as Alain then!

I also just leave the theater happy with this ballet. I actually find the second act extremely touching and Lise's mime just beautiful.

I liked Scott's Alain a bit better than Salstein's as he seemed more genuinely shy (as opposed to just a goof) and danced the steps better. I preferred Zhurbin's Widow Simone to Gomes's for analogous reasons: more like a character, less like a gag and great in the clog dance. But I enjoyed all casts I saw.

I might not want to see this season after season, but as a regular returning part of the rep? Danced as well as the company dances it? Absolutely. I did wish there had been more children in the theater, and am sad it doesn't sell better. It seems to me ABT dancing an Ashton masterpiece very well across multiple casts, with no guest artists (and perhaps more to the point, no guest artists needed) shows Mckenzie doing his job very well. (Though I admit I wouldn't exactly picket if Cojocaru turned up in NY for a performance.)

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Lucky you! You must have seen Alexander Grant as Alain then!

I also just leave the theater happy with this ballet. I actually find the second act extremely touching and Lise's mime just beautiful.

I liked Scott's Alain a bit better than Salstein's as he seemed more genuinely shy (as opposed to just a goof) and danced the steps better. I preferred Zhurbin's Widow Simone to Gomes's for analogous reasons: more like a character, less like a gag and great in the clog dance. But I enjoyed all casts I saw.

I might not want to see this season after season, but as a regular returning part of the rep? Danced as well as the company dances it? Absolutely. I did wish there had been more children in the theater, and am sad it doesn't sell better. It seems to me ABT dancing an Ashton masterpiece very well across multiple casts, with no guest artists (and perhaps more to the point, no guest artists needed) shows Mckenzie doing his job very well. (Though I admit I wouldn't exactly picket if Cojocaru turned up in NY for a performance.)

Agree 100% with everything said here. Although I would be hardpressed to say which Widow Simone I really preferred as I think probably Zhurbin's was better in the context of the ballet but Gomes was such a magnificent star turn.

I adored it (I saw Murphy and Copeland). I've been hoping they'd revive it for years and was not disappointed at all!

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I won't see ABT until Saturday night, but I love this ballet. I saw it last year in London. Yes, I get it's a bit goofy and saccharine, but like others I also find it very heartwarming. Plus it has dancing hens and a rooster! :innocent:

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Just an observation and nothing directed at La Fille, but I find it just funny to see that this season seems to be filled with "birds/flying creatures"! From chickens and roosters to golden ones, small and big birds! :D Happy Memorial Day all!

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Just an observation and nothing directed at La Fille, but I find it just funny to see that this season seems to be filled with "birds/flying creatures"! From chickens and roosters to golden ones, small and big birds! :D Happy Memorial Day all!

Company for the perennial swans.

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I also saw the Nerina/Blair/Grant cast when this ballet was first done. I fell in love with it immediately! I also find it to be one of the most pleasurable ballets ever made. It's so filled with details, both from the story telling aspect and also from it's genius technical requirements. Ashton was such a master at allowing the steps to reveal the story and the emotion of a work. Where else does one see petit battement (serre') in the back!!! We know it from countless performances of White Swan. But to see it as a means of showing emotion and excitement in young love (and all the while Lise is being lifted from behind a door!!) Also, those lovely slow supported fouettes, also done with the man behind a door. Genius! Look at the tiny bourrees Lise does when she's on the staircase seeing her lover go away. And then she 'bumps' down the stairs on her rear end like a disappointed child. The Act II pas de deux that really has no dancing in it,; just the two of them embracing. Also enchanting. I look at this ballet as in no way an article for the archives, but another in the long, strong canon of Ashton roles for women. So happy ABT is doing this work and offering our dancers the unique opportunity of learning and performing it. It's as important for them to know this work as it is to learn (or re-learn) "Sleeping Beauty". Just a treasure. And I'm thrilled to see ABT doing such a wonderful job of it's many beauties. Bravo to ABT/Kevin and all the dancers!!!!

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I saw Fille at the Wednesday matinee and Thursday evening. First off, I would like to say that IMHO if they got rid of the rooster and the chickens the ballet wouldn't suffer. There's a lot to like in this ballet, but if you're not a fan of slapstick, there's a lot to put one off as well.

More important, as a longtime Stella fan, I was thrilled to see her exquisite dancing last night, in her first leading role as a principal dancer: her liquid port de bras; her petit allegro jumps, which I thought were light and lovely (think "floating"); her secure balances and turns; all in the context of a believable character who was charming and delightful. Bravura dancing in this ballet wouldn't be appropriate--even Gillian, a terrific bravura dancer, didn't oversell the role with bravura steps. The only comment I would make in that regard is that at the very beginning, Gillian's bourrees were smaller and faster than Stella's. But for me, Stella embodied the role in a way that Gillian did not, although she, too, was quite lovely as Lise.

As for Whiteside, he doesn't have much turnout and therefore is lacking in his line, and he has a stiff upper body that constrains him. However, in this case he made a wonderful partner for Stella. He seemed to lift her effortlessly, enabling her to feel secure in his arms. And I thought he made a real effort to engage with her in dancing the story line. I don't agree that she was left to her own devices. Her acting was "spot on," which reminded me that somewhere on this forum someone wondered whether Stella could act in a comedic role, as opposed to the serious role of Giselle. Her performance last night left no doubt about that--there's nothing missing from her sense of humor onstage. I believe that she can do "bravura" too, if given the chance. But even if she's no Carrie Imler, that doesn't mean that she lacks a wide range of ability. I can think of many great dancers who were better in some ballets than others. It's sad that she wasn't given this chance at least five years ago, but after seeing last night's performance, I know I'll be her ardent fan to the finish line.

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I too saw the Abrera/Whiteside Fille. Abrera is a delight. Unfortunately she's being given these opportunities in the twilight of her career. Whiteside to me seems an unfinished dancer and unconvincing actor, but was a wonderful partner for Abrera.

The ballet had moments that delighted me, but has too much slapstick and repetition for my taste. I'm glad the ABT is fielding home team principals, but ballets like Fille IMO, are problematic in respect to developing dancers. There is nothing challenging for anyone but the leads. The same is true of Romeo and Juliet. It seems to me that a corps member at ABT has to stay very self-motivated to stay in shape, never mind the soloists

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I too saw the Abrera/Whiteside Fille. Abrera is a delight. Unfortunately she's being given these opportunities in the twilight of her career. Whiteside to me seems an unfinished dancer and unconvincing actor, but was a wonderful partner for Abrera.

The ballet had moments that delighted me, but has too much slapstick and repetition for my taste. I'm glad the ABT is fielding home team principals, but ballets like Fille IMO, are problematic in respect to developing dancers. There is nothing challenging for anyone but the leads. The same is true of Romeo and Juliet. It seems to me that a corps member at ABT has to stay very self-motivated to stay in shape, never mind the soloists

But the corps de ballet is there on stage to serve a purpose. To surround and complete the total "picture" of the work. Whether they are dancing as a "unit", say, in "Giselle" or Swan Lake", or being more "background as in "Don Q". (oh, all that endless finger snapping!) One might think the tall men serving "duty" to Solar in "La Bayedere" are just a waste of the men's time. But everyone learns something, even standing in a line at attention. I think both Hallberg and Gorak have "performed" these roles. These types of roles are necessary to the overall production. Some ballets offer more opportunity than others. The grand 19th Century story ballets are loaded with many non dancing roles. These roles teach discipline and how to perform as a unit, among other things. Some ballets may be more challenging than others. I think that ADs watch for talent in more than just when someone is on stage. Class, rehearsal, etc. are all backstage opportunities for a dancer to show what they can do. Some dancers stand out in a corps. Others fade into the wallpaper. Dancers who don't give 100% while in the corps do so at their peril for future casting. A smart dancer is one who shines in the corps, no matter how small or non relevant a role may be. And a smart dancer learns by watching. The "challenge" as I see it, is to be put in the position of being onstage as much as possible. The cream will always somehow rise to the top.

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Mimsyb, I bet you meant Hallberg and Gomes (instead of Gorak) have "performed" these roles. Indeed, in the Murphy/Corella dvd of Swan Lake you can see Gomes in the background. Fun to look for dancers in the corps that went on to move through the ranks.

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