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I found Forster to be quite compelling in the Purple Rothbart role. Very sinister and his dancing chops were solid. He has also shown his more sinister side in "The Moor's Pavanne". Going forward, assuming ABT keeps this version of "Swan Lake" (or keeps the "PR" role in some other version), I'd like to see either Jeffrey Cirio or yes, Joseph Gorak given a crack at the role. Both have incredible technique for the role and I think we just might be surprised at this perhaps anti type casting. Remember how winning Hallberg was in this role, and he certainly wouldn't be the first dancer I would have thought could have done it. Yet he was amazing in the role. Also think Calvin Royal could do it and even perhaps Daniel Mantei. Possibly Duncan Lyle.

Boston fan here. Cirio did Swan Lake several years ago, probably at the age of 22 (?). I actually think because of an injury in Boston at the time, they did 5 or 6 shows in the run. Here's their white swan pas:

More telling of his technique is this Sleeping Beauty video:

Interestingly, both Gorak and Cirio were partially trained by Peter Stark. Gorak started in Texas, I believe, and Cirio at CPYB. If you look at their resumes as students, there are a lot of similarities. YAGP medals, Helsinki medals, NFAA winners, Princess Grace awardees. While Gorak has an unmatched classical line, Cirio is probably a little more of a bravura dancer. Edit: I realize you now you were speaking of Purple Rothbart role. That would be amazing to see Gorak or Cirio do that.

I have probably said this elsewhere, but I am actually excited for ABT because it appears as though they may be trying to develop their own dancers, rather than bring in "stars." I see great possibilities with Trenary, Brandt, Schevchenko, Cirio, Gorak, Royal and Scott (most of them except for Scott in the 24-25 year age range.) Boylston is still not even 30 years old and Kotchetkova is around 32. Additionally, there are numerous even younger dancers who show great promise.

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In the case of the San Francisco Ballet, none of the 19 principals list the San Francisco Ballet School in their bios. So, if your goal is to reach the top at San Francisco Ballet, going through the school doesn't seem like a very fruitful way to achieve that goal, regardless of the quality of the training. If anything, going through Houston Ballet would appear to be a better strategy, as Luke Ingham, Joseph Walsh and now Aaron Robison have all utilized it.

Sincerely hoping this changes with the addition of Armand as the School Director and the faculty they now have in place:

http://school.sfballet.org/staff

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Another note: the dream team "Born to Be Wild" contingent all joined ABT from other companies circa 1995. Stiefel joined a little later and Bocca was inherited from the earlier Baryshnikov and Hermann regimes. Marcelo Gomes joined ABT corps in 1997, made soloist in 2000 and principal in 2002. Hallberg joined the company in 2001 and made soloist in 2004 and principal in 2006. Cornejo joined the corps at age 18 in 1999, made soloist in 2000 and principal dancer in 2003. However Cornejo kept on dancing pas de trois and peasant pas de deux's for years after making principal. Certain male leads in classical ballets that would seem like naturals for him like Basilio in "Don Quixote" took years for him to be cast in. Stearns joined the corps in 2006, promoted to soloist 2009 and principal 2011.

The other male principals are either international stars like Bolle, Simkin and Lendorf who were developed elsewhere or dancers poached from other American companies like Whiteside (and potentially Cirio) from Boston Ballet. Bolle is over 40. Gomes and Cornejo 35 or over, Hallberg is 34 and has been out for two seasons with no indication of a return. Stearns is 30 or 31 years old and Whiteside is about the same age. Daniil Simkin is the only principal in his twenties at age 28 along with the injured and absent new acquisition Alban Lendorf who was born in 1989. Both Simkin and Lendorf were trained in Europe and developed abroad.

Alexandre Hammoudi was born in 1983 and will turn 33 in late July. Thomas Forster was born in 1986 and has/will turn 30 this year. Arron Scott was born in 1985 and Craig Salstein is about the same age. Only Joey Gorak (born in 1990, joined ABT in 2009 and was promoted to soloist in 2014) and Jeffrey Cirio (about 24 and joined from Boston Ballet) are still in their 20's. So Gorak, Cirio, Lendorf and Simkin are the only twenty something principal and soloist males. All four are on the medium to short side in height. Cirio got a big push this year with a lot of prominent castings. Gorak seems to be on a plateau right now. I think a lack of acting experience and theatrical presence may be the culprit - the Romeo last year didn't set the world on fire though the Frantz in "Coppelia" was a home run.

So where are the guys in the corps under 30 besides Gorak who have been developed by McKenzie over the last five to ten years? Now we have a problem - it has been in the making for at least half a decade.

History shows that you need to keep new dancers coming every five years or so. So for every experienced thirty year old principal, there is a freshly promoted twenty five year old debuting in leading roles and a twenty year old in the corps getting solos.

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To segue back to the Swan Lake discussion (although I'm enjoying the discussion of the current and future state of ABT): We all know that Gomes is the ultimate purple V. Rothbart, but I'm curious who here thinks is the best (or has the potential to be) of the remaining dancers doing the role. I saw Hammoudi do the role last week and was disappointed. He didn't command the stage (although he had the cape swirl down pat) and lacked control in several of the steps. I would have liked to have seen Forster and Baca. Any reports on them? PS - I'm sad for the audience that Baca is leaving ABT but happy for him in his new path, secretly hoping that one day he'll return.

I know there is a sizeable anti-Whiteside contingent here, but I saw him on Tuesday night and he was excellent as purple Rothbart.

He is the only dancer I've seen besides Gomes who both mastered it technically (and he didn't sort of lose power towards the end as Gomes does now and had a very nice balance), and had the camp/evil/delight in the role necessary to pull it off. Was it as fully fleshed out a portrayal as Gomes'? No--but it was good, really good.

Your comment on Hammoudi (no command of the stage) was sadly an issue in H's Siegfried as well.

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By the way, I know Paloma Herrera came out of SAB. Does ABT now have any SAB grads in its ranks?

Isn't Courtney Lavine a SAB grad? She's got a beautiful line, and I often find my eyes drawn to her when she is on stage. It's a shame that she isn't utilized more.

As for the lack of younger male dancers, I think both Shayer and Royal have serious potential to move up the ranks. Calvin looks tall to me, but I'm not sure of his height.

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My perception is that nobody who could get into a well established and highly regarded school like SAB or the San Fran. ballet school would choose the JKO School. It's like the difference between going to an Ivy League school vs. a local college. Thus, the JKO school does not necessarily attract top level talent in the first instance, so there is far less likelihood that any particular graduate of JKO is going to become a major star. Obviously, there will be some exceptions, as there always are. However, I'd be curious to know what others think about this concept.

By the way, I know Paloma Herrera came out of SAB. Does ABT now have any SAB grads in its ranks?

That's been my perception too. SAB has always been the Harvard of ballet schools, but I think the JKO school's reputation is improving.

Patrick Frenette, a second-year corps member, graduated from SAB. Not sure if there are others, but I was reading his bio for another reason and noticed this.

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Lavine may need a few years in the corps before they give her solo turns. McKenzie gave her a character role in SB last year, which is done in character shoes, and I recall that she fell. Of course, the greatest dancers in the world fall down, so that alone is not indicative of anything. However, it may suggest to management that Lavine needs to get some more experience under her belt before she is given more to do.

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So where are the guys in the corps under 30 besides Gorak who have been developed by McKenzie over the last five to ten years? Now we have a problem - it has been in the making for at least half a decade.

History shows that you need to keep new dancers coming every five years or so. So for every experienced thirty year old principal, there is a freshly promoted twenty five year old debuting in leading roles and a twenty year old in the corps getting solos.

Calvin Royal III and Gabe Stone Shayer have been dancing principal and soloist roles for years now, significantly in Ratmansky's ballets. So, I'm inclined to say they've been more developed by him than by McKenzie. Anyhow....I certainly hope they are promoted this year, especially Royal. Blaine Hoven has been on an upswing over the last year, and has been dancing better than ever (but, he may be over 30 now as he's been in the corps for 12 years). Sterling Baca is another one, but as we all know he's going to PA Ballet. So, leaving out Baca that's only three guys in the corps visibly being developed who have been regularly dancing lead roles (in addition to their corps work). Yeah, I agree. That's a problem.

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Lavine may need a few years in the corps before they give her solo turns. McKenzie gave her a character role in SB last year, which is done in character shoes, and I recall that she fell. Of course, the greatest dancers in the world fall down, so that alone is not indicative of anything. However, it may suggest to management that Lavine needs to get some more experience under her belt before she is given more to do.

I recalled from her Instagram that she had mentioned dancing the Fleur de Farine Fairy iat the Kennedy Center:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBTwWUor6Tl/?taken-by=cocolavine

I agree she's a lovely dancer. I've been excited by all the talent ABT is able to draw upon to fill soloist roles. I used to somewhat dread watching things like the Three Odalisques in Corsaire, the Neopolitan dance in SL, or the peasant pas de deux from Giselle because they were so often cast with underwhelming dancers. It seems like that's rarely the case these days.

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Several corps ballerinas came into their own dancing for Ratmansky - especially in his "Sleeping Beauty" as various fairies. I think we all noticed Paulina Waski, Cassandra Trenary and Skyler Brandt as the Fairies in the prologue. (Nicole Graniero stood out too but she left the company). Skyler Brandt and Christine Schevchenko came in to their own taking over the leads in the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 from Murphy, Osipova and Vishneva. So the Ratmansky effect has been a boon to the female dancers in ABT as well. Waski, like Hurlin, needs to be developed and moved forward and Lavine as well. Gemma Bond IMO should be a soloist. Melanie Hamrick has gotten stronger and could be given bigger roles. Calvin Royal III is an obvious contender as is Gabe Stone Shayer (both Ratmansky favorites who danced with Schevchenko and Brandt in the Piano Concerto No. 1). Daniel Mantei and Marshall Whiteley would be good choices to take over Sterling Baca's slots.

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I also had been an avid ABT goer for over 15 years, and this is prob the most depressing season I remember in a long time...particularly, I just dont connect with Ratmansky, there hasnt been a single piece of choreography that he has done for abt that I have found particularly exciting to the point of being eager to see it over and over again. Most of his works for me have been a bad experience, as for this year's cockerel for example, or simply ok but no more, thanks....His SB is what I have enjoyed the best, but I dont feel like seeing it 2-3 times in a run, one time is enough for an academic exercise, I want to see 21st century dancing.........

I am a hugeeee Ashton fan, and this is the one thing that I really appreciate a lot about abt programs in the last 2-3 years, all his works are master pieces in my eyes, but sadly, the casting is not up to the challenge and it does not motivate me at all to go as often as I used to go before.....I remember a few years back some runs of Bayadere with Smirnova, Vishneva, Tereshkina, Part, boy it was a feast !....I know a lot of people here dont like imported stars, I think they sell and everything should be given in appropriate quantities. It is understandable that people don't want the season to become into a ballet festival with no abt dancers taking a big part of it, but I personally dont want an all abt season right now, basically because very few of the current ballerinas are exciting or could be considered world-class artist. The coaching mentioned before is a great point, the fact that if people are not given chances they wont develop is more to discussion, world-class dancers are and will be very few, others can accomplish the job but no matter how many opportunities they get, they will never reach the same level, because they dont have the same talent. Years ago the balance was right, 1-2 stars per season, but the difference was that the in-house roster was plagued of world-class artist so the company was offering world-class shows every week.....personally, i will always remember watching Nina A, Ferri, Vishneva, Marianela Nuñez, Osipova, Cojocaru, Smirnova, Obratsova and some others, as one of my most fulfilling experiences attending to ballet over the years, ithese shows will stay in my brain and mind for ever, and it was thanks to the policy that the company had during those years.....home grown talent is great, but not at the expense of sacrificing the quality of the performances..

with that being said, I wanted to comment on the 2 SL that attended last week: Part/Whiteside, Seo/Bolle.

Part to me continues to be the reigning swan queen in the company, and one of the best out there. There is no much more to add to what its being said before, her majestic lines, liquid arms and her musicality is simply stunning...it is truly tragic that she has been sidelined (not given more opportunities) over all these years......i also agree that this was not prob her best SL, 2 factors contributed to that in my opinion.

First, once again , she danced alone, Whiteside is just not well artistically matched with her, not to mention that the chemistry was inexistent. He is a good technician, but his dancing is tight, restricted, an highly unmusical at times. I was also surprised to read that Alastair M found that he partnered her well, really ?? I was close in orchestra, the wobbling was obvious and present all the time, partnered pirouettes were messy, in the final scene of the lake, for example, during the final lift Part had to use one of her hands to hold herself, which looked more like a Don Q lift to me than anything else...but more than anything, I did not feel any emotions from him during the whole show......At this point, given that she wont dance with Gomes or Bolle anymore, i rather take Stearns, at least he has beautiful lines and seems to partner her better.....The second factor is that I think Part clearly had or recently should have had a back injury. I dont think that she skipped that gorgeous cambree that was mentioned before because of age, gezz, I could have done better than that, that is obviously to me a matter of an injury, I hope she recovers well, and soon.....overall her Odette was her usual gorgeous and her Odile was better than before, I also noticed she was technically as secured as I have never seen her, when dancing alone.......other side notes, Marcelo stole the show as VR, he owns the role, period, and the pas de trois in act 1 was beautifully danced as well (i am sorry i dont remember now who danced it)

...i second the suggestion given in another threat here, bring Fabrice Calmels and partner her with him ! they have actually danced together, it wd be a dream !

Seo/Bolle: I have been a strong critic of Seo blandness and weaknesses before, and I also said that it would take me years to go and see her again. This year, I ended up in her SL because of a dear friend of mine who adoressss Bolle.....To be completely fair, I have to say that I was completely blown away by her Odette this time. She was absolutely exquisite, shockingly stunning, you can tell that she is been really well coached, her portrait of Odette is now full of details, and she danced not only beautifully but strongly. It is quite impressive how much she has improved technically and artistically. Of course, she has always had beautiful lines and gorgeous feet, but it wasnt until this show that I was allowed to recreate on them. There was also a great deal of chemistry with Bolle, which made the overall show way more satisfying that the gorgeous Part SL.

Her Odile was also very well portrayed and danced. She held a beautiful balance for everrrrrr (reminded me of Herrera, specially those beautifully arched feet), and her Odile variation was clean and perfectly danced....There were still problems in the coda, when then fouettes arrived, she tried a double pirouette at the beginning and lost control, but I think she recovered ok and managed to finish them (I didnt count, but they seemed close to 32)....i.e, there is still work to do, but I saw also plenty of improvement and other beautiful qualities come alive, her characterization of Odette reminded me a lot of Julie K, which was at her times one of my fav in the role.....the adagio was specially touching and emotional, she looked really fabulous here..........so I am going to take a step back and say that I see a big potential here, I hope she continues working in that direction and that the company provides the proper coaching and nurture her well.....perhaps she was overwhelmed before because she was expected to dance too much, too soon........i hope it was that, maybe she can dance from now on with a greater sense of freedom. ...in any case, since I critiziced her harshly before, I thought it was also fair to write how happy I was with this show, how much she has improved and how impressive and gorgeously beautiful was her performance to my eyes.

other notes, Foster was VR. I dont know if it was because I saw Marcelo 2 night before, but i disliked him a lot.....pas de trois was again beautifully danced, i think it was Royal, Schevchenko and Devon T, all of them looked beautiful, great classisism, elegant and pristine clean technique.

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By the way, I know Paloma Herrera came out of SAB. Does ABT now have any SAB grads in its ranks?

Courtney Lavine. Can't think of any others.

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Curious about the lack of interest (and what seems to be almost apathy from those on this board) in Kochetkova. She seems to be a main draw in SF, so why not at ABT? Is it her technique? Her lack of height? Her "hipsterness"?

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Calvin Royal III and Gabe Stone Shayer have been dancing principal and soloist roles for years now, significantly in Ratmansky's ballets.

I'm so very impressed with Calvin Royal's improvement since last Spring. He is truly taking off. I can't really think of a renowned male dancer in all of ballet history who had limbs that long. Can anyone else? I've seen him partner both Stella Abrerra and Catherine Hurlin, and he worked beautifully with both.

I have significantly less hope for Forester, but I may just need to forget one especially lackluster Les Sylphides, and give him another chance.

In terms of Ratmansky, it's interesting to read the divergent opinions here. I see about twice the ballets I used to see since he came to ABT. I used to attend at least 4 performances with my mother. Now I find myself doing standing-room a couple times a week for a Ratmansky premiere, and buying tickets to 2 or 3 additional evenings with my husband (also a fan), all in addition to my matinees with mom. His choreography has rejuvenated the company, in my opinion. Shostakovich Trio was critical and audience success, underwritten by a billionaire. (ticket sales aren't everything, and Ratmanksy seems to bring in the philanthropists.) Although Sleeping Beauty gets panned here, I found my fellow audience goers to be very appreciative, and it seemed to sell well too.

As for Swan Lake, I can see the complaints that ABT doesn't have a strong stable of ballerinas to pull off this role. I only saw Veronika this year, and I agree with many on here that she is the best O/O ABT has to offer these days. There is a certain kind of ballerina-gravitas required to knock this ballet out of the park. Still, I wonder if we romanticize the past a bit. Yes, Nina Ananashivili was remarkable to her retiring day (her Giselle was also my favorite), but I avoided Kent, Dvorovenko, and Herrera in the final years of their careers. Perhaps it's cruel, but I'd much rather see Boylston and Seo struggling and growing into the role, than to watch dancers decline. (I'm really glad to read about Hee Seo's improvement!) I'm not up on the international dance scene, but it seems there are other international stars beyond Seminova and Vishneva that could be recruited for a Swan Lake visit. Sara Mearns has ballerina gravitas. I'd love for her to pay a visit too (and she has danced with Gomes in other things), but I doubt that would work since NYCB has their own Swan Lake.

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In terms of Ratmansky, it's interesting to read the divergent opinions here. I see about twice the ballets I used to see since he came to ABT. I used to attend at least 4 performances with my mother. Now I find myself doing standing-room a couple times a week for a Ratmansky premiere, and buying tickets to 2 or 3 additional evenings with my husband (also a fan), all in addition to my matinees with mom. His choreography has rejuvenated the company, in my opinion. Shostakovich Trio was critical and audience success, underwritten by a billionaire. (ticket sales aren't everything, and Ratmanksy seems to bring in the philanthropists.) Although Sleeping Beauty gets panned here, I found my fellow audience goers to be very appreciative, and it seemed to sell well too.

Great point -- there are more ways to get money than ticket sales. Touche!

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[...]

Seo/Bolle: I have been a strong critic of Seo blandness and weaknesses before, and I also said that it would take me years to go and see her again. This year, I ended up in her SL because of a dear friend of mine who adoressss Bolle.....To be completely fair, I have to say that I was completely blown away by her Odette this time. She was absolutely exquisite, shockingly stunning, you can tell that she is been really well coached, her portrait of Odette is now full of details, and she danced not only beautifully but strongly. It is quite impressive how much she has improved technically and artistically. Of course, she has always had beautiful lines and gorgeous feet, but it wasnt until this show that I was allowed to recreate on them. There was also a great deal of chemistry with Bolle, which made the overall show way more satisfying that the gorgeous Part SL.

Her Odile was also very well portrayed and danced. She held a beautiful balance for everrrrrr (reminded me of Herrera, specially those beautifully arched feet), and her Odile variation was clean and perfectly danced....There were still problems in the coda, when then fouettes arrived, she tried a double pirouette at the beginning and lost control, but I think she recovered ok and managed to finish them (I didnt count, but they seemed close to 32)....i.e, there is still work to do, but I saw also plenty of improvement and other beautiful qualities come alive, her characterization of Odette reminded me a lot of Julie K, which was at her times one of my fav in the role.....the adagio was specially touching and emotional, she looked really fabulous here..........so I am going to take a step back and say that I see a big potential here, I hope she continues working in that direction and that the company provides the proper coaching and nurture her well.....perhaps she was overwhelmed before because she was expected to dance too much, too soon........i hope it was that, maybe she can dance from now on with a greater sense of freedom. ...in any case, since I critiziced her harshly before, I thought it was also fair to write how happy I was with this show, how much she has improved and how impressive and gorgeously beautiful was her performance to my eyes.

Very pleased to read your report about this performance. I have had mixed reactions to Seo in major roles but treasure my memories of her Aurora last year. I hope to to see her Swan Lake one day...

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I don't think anybody has noted this yet (apologies if they have...): at the Saturday evening 6/18 SL, Zhiyao Zhang was Benno. Although some of his partnering seemed nervous and unsteady, I was so impressed by his leaps and turns. He has a long, high, luxurious leap that gives the illusion of just hanging in the air mid-jump. I was startled when I noticed this, but by golly, that part of his technique is stunning and consistent. I hope he is able to develop the other elements of his overall technique.

I liked Kochetkova better in this than I did in her Corsaire a few weeks ago. She seems to be coached by Kolpakova, judging from her numerous Instagram photos. But there is something strange about how she is absorbing the coaching - she will show carefully worked out fluttering arms and head and then repeat it down to the last tiny detail -- which made it all seemed artificial, done-by-rote, instead of genuine expressiveness. Her fouettes (sorry!) were impeccable -- alternating singles and doubles right to the end, with little travelling.

Boylston at the matinee seems to be growing in this role. But what others seem to like as sharp, very defined transitions too often struck me as jerky and too-harsh. She made a wise choice on the fouettes -- 32 perfect singles. Nothing fancy. Not much travelling. The message: if you can't do the extras perfectly, don't try. Stick with the basics.

Marcelo with Boylston was sublime, as always - such a great dancer-actor. Cornejo with Kochetkova seemed to have a little less energy than usual, but still superb overall.

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Another note: the dream team "Born to Be Wild" contingent all joined ABT from other companies circa 1995. Stiefel joined a little later and Bocca was inherited from the earlier Baryshnikov and Hermann regimes. Marcelo Gomes joined ABT corps in 1997, made soloist in 2000 and principal in 2002. Hallberg joined the company in 2001 and made soloist in 2004 and principal in 2006. Cornejo joined the corps at age 18 in 1999, made soloist in 2000 and principal dancer in 2003. However Cornejo kept on dancing pas de trois and peasant pas de deux's for years after making principal. Certain male leads in classical ballets that would seem like naturals for him like Basilio in "Don Quixote" took years for him to be cast in. Stearns joined the corps in 2006, promoted to soloist 2009 and principal 2011.

This history is really striking. That 2-3 year corps-to-principal transition never seems to happen any more. Were they a bit older and more experienced on joining the corps than those who've entered the corps in recent years? Nowadays it seems to take AGES for dancers to rise up from corps to soloist. Then they either seem to make the additional rise to principal fairly quickly or to just languish as soloists (what KM has called "flagship soloists," I believe).

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Curious about the lack of interest (and what seems to be almost apathy from those on this board) in Kochetkova. She seems to be a main draw in SF, so why not at ABT? Is it her technique? Her lack of height? Her "hipsterness"?

For me it's the fact that she seems technically accomplished but doesn't "dance big." It doesn't help that she's truly tiny. As Nikiya, she looked like a child. I need LEGS in that role. (Veronika please!!) I don't give a hoot about the hipsterness offstage -- I must admit I find her IG persona to be amusingly (if eye-rollingly) bizarre. I just can't get excited about her onstage. Perhaps she'd read better in a smaller house?

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Curious about the lack of interest (and what seems to be almost apathy from those on this board) in Kochetkova. She seems to be a main draw in SF, so why not at ABT? Is it her technique? Her lack of height? Her "hipsterness"?

It seems that there are pretty divided opinions about her here. I am personally a fan, she is small but I found her to be beautifully proportionated and musical. She is technically very strong, I think we all agree on this. I saw her Sylvia and loved it.

Her personality off stage seems hilarious to me, there are plenty of videos on her Instagram rehearsing SL with Kolpakova......

This is one from the golden cockerel that I found hilariously funny :)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGanvyLEUeE/?taken-by=balletrusse&hl=en

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Curious about the lack of interest (and what seems to be almost apathy from those on this board) in Kochetkova. She seems to be a main draw in SF, so why not at ABT? Is it her technique? Her lack of height? Her "hipsterness"?

II have no problem with her technique, her lack of height or her hipsterness. In fact I have enjoyed her with SFB when she was dancing modern works and I liked her in Ratmansky's Piano Concerto. But I generally avoid her with ABT because she has absolutely no feel for the 19th century classics., and thats mostly what she dances here.

Yes, I know that she is Russian and trained at the Bolshoi school but don't forget that the Bolshoi didn't offer her a contract and she only lasted one season with the Royal. Her movements are so sharp, she has no Russian back, her epaulment is stiff, her arabesque pedestrian. Her phrasing is dull, I've seen no rubato from her, no cantelina line, no amplitude in her dancing. I saw her in Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake her first season with ABT and that totally soured me on her. Next season she was cast in Bayadere and I thought that would be a better fit for her. I was wrong.

I might give her another shot if she does DQ in the next couple of seasons, but I'm done with her in the classic ballerina roles.

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Yes, I know that she is Russian and trained at the Bolshoi school but don't forget that the Bolshoi didn't offer her a contract and she only lasted one season with the Royal.

She said long ago in a social media posting that she "wasted" five years in the corps at English National Ballet. I don't see that on her web site, but she does talk about portraying Alice in Alice in Wonderland, which seems like a role that would fit her. She doesn't mention any other roles at ENB, so perhaps she was only in the corps there. And the SFB site mentions both Royal and ENB, though nothing about rank.

http://mariakochetkova.com/balletrusse/english-national-ballets-alice-in-wonderland

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I last saw Kochetkova a few years ago in SL and thought she was awful. That was the year that Cornejo debuted as the lead in SL. This year I decided to pay a return visit. I've realized that Herman is worth seeing, even if I don't like his partner. (Herman was amazing. He is not the most romantic of leading men, but he definitely had the strongest technique of all the casts I saw.) Happy to report that Kochetkova has improved a lot as O/O since 2013. I'm glad I attended. I also thought that Sterling Baca was a very wonderful purple Rothbart, and Zhang was excellent in the pas de trois. His landings were in perfect, tight fifth position, and he jumps very high.

I also attended my very first Boylston O/O, on the theory that she will never have a better partner than Gomes so I had better go see her this season. I was pleasantly surprised. There are still some ugly hand and arm positions going on (the splayed fingers are a distraction), but there were also moments of striking beauty. Another habit that she must try and get rid of is the way she sometimes jerks her head forward when jumping. I'm glad she decided to do neat single fouettes (yes, 32) instead of biting off more than she could chew. I've seen her come to grief when she has tried to do flashy doubles and triples and then lost control in other ballets.

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Personally (a lot of people won't agree). Instead of hiring Kochetkova, Sarah Lane should have been promoted or been given more principal roles this year while looking at a promotion soon. Lane's been doing Theme & Variations, with distinction, for years (better than Boylston). IMO her first Sleeping Beauty should have gotten her promoted. She'd be perfect in Romeo and Juliet. Again, I know I am in a minority, but Lane drives me to buy a ticket in a way that Kochetkova just doesn't.

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Personally (a lot of people won't agree). Instead of hiring Kochetkova, Sarah Lane should have been promoted or been given more principal roles this year while looking at a promotion soon. Lane's been doing Theme & Variations, with distinction, for years (better than Boylston). IMO her first Sleeping Beauty should have gotten her promoted. She'd be perfect in Romeo and Juliet. Again, I know I am in a minority, but Lane drives me to buy a ticket in a way that Kochetkova just doesn't.

I agree with you completely.

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