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ABT 2016 Romeo & Juliet


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... Ferri's choice...She also mentioned that Manon is an easier role for her than Juliette. Hint, hint!

Ferri, age 53, as Manon, fresh out of the convent school? What is she smoking?

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Ferri, age 53, as Manon, fresh out of the convent school? What is she smoking?

Anybody who saw her teenage Juliet last night would find that very plausible. I don't see Manon on any schedules for 2017, alas, but Onegin might be an option for her.

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I thought Ferri started out the evening sometimes looking a little tentative, espeicially with respect to the pointe work. I also think there might have been some alterations of the choreography for Juliet in the balcony scene. (Anyone else notice this?) Act II has little or no dancing for Juleit. However, by the Act III bedroom scene that tentativeness was swept away and she was brilliant. She still has beautiful line, extension and flexibility. And those beautiful, curved feet, wow. The only thing that's somewhat diminished is the pointe work and the speed. However, that didn't matter. What she lost in technique was completely overshadowed by her incredible, moving acting. It was a master class in that respect. Herman was ON FIRE. I've never seen him have this level of connection with any other partner. We all kniew he had brilliant technique, and it was abundantly on display. I have not seen anyone conquer the spins and other demands of the balcony scene with such skill and speed since Corella left. I was a little worried about some of the lifts, because you could sometimes see how much effort he needed to accomplish them. I was surprised at how well Herman acted the part. Ferri brought out the best in him in that respect. I doubt any other partner will inspire him to such heights in the future in terms of the acting. It was an historic night. By the end I had tears in my eyes.

A word about some of the other dancers. Salstein may not have the excellent technique of some others, but he makes his character come alive through his characterization and interactions with others in the cast. During the Tuesday night show, Aaron Scott looked like he was taking a final exam. Though he is a brilliant dancer, he had no warmth or stage presence. He sacrificed characterization and treated it like an opportunity to display his jumps and spins, in my opinion. There is more to Mercutio than spins.

I also thought Stella was terrific as Juliet's mother last night. Her portrayal is so full of detail. Devon Teucher (on Tues evening) needs a lot of work and improvement in the same role. She ilacked stage presence and didn't seem to have a clue how to dramatize the role.

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Thanks California, for confirming the alteration of the choreography for Juliet. Also, have a safe trip back home. It was great to see you!

Great to see so many Ballet Alert friends at intermission.

Edit to add: I've seen a lot of R&J's since I started going to ABT sometime during the late 1990s. Last night I had the strange experience of having two women in their 20s sitting next to me who laughed repeatedly during Salstein's death scene. They also laughed repeatedly during the crypt scene whenever Herman had to manipulate, lift or drag Juliet's body. I've never heard people laugh during these scenes in all the years I've been seeing this ballet.

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During a late-90s tour of Lavrovsky's R&J at the Kennedy Center, by the Bolshoi, MANY patrons in the 2nd Tier laughed out loud at Tsiskaridze's "over-the-top" lengthy death as Mercurio. I'll never forget it but something about it tickled many patrons' funny bone. I'm sure that the dancer could hear it. I was ashamed as a Washingtonian.

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I wish I could have been there. I really need to find a job in NYC, instead of Philly.

I hope Ferri dances Manon or something else with ABT next year, as I've never seen her live. I will say, the video of her Giselle is probably my favorite Giselle performance and I believe she was in her 40's at the time it was filmed. I still found her believable as a young Giselle.

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I saw her "final" performance with Bolle in '07 and was a bit reluctant to push my luck with another performance, all these years later. So glad she has had good reviews! The one moment I have always loved about her Juliet has nothing to do with her dancing.....it is when she is sitting on the edge of the bed contemplating what she will do to resolve her predicament.....her stillness, not a muscle moving is quite mind boggling.

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Like abatt, above, I too felt that Ferri started off rather tentatively, but became increasingly immersed in the role as the performance progressed. The one thing I missed was the abandon with which she used to fling herself into her partner's arms after running towards him in both the balcony and the bedroom scenes. But I believe that was a decision made in advance between Ferri and Cornejo and they made up for it in other ways, such as the deep backbends she made in his arms and the passion with which they embraced.

I think the departure of Sterling Baca is a terrible loss for ABT. They should have seen his potential and developed him for principal status. Even though he didn't "dance" as Paris, his princely manner was evident in his stance and his acting. And much as I admire Craig Salstein, I so much missed Jared Matthews as Mercutio.

In his slim build and his perfect classical line, Gorak reminds me of the young Hallberg, despite the difference in height.

All in all, a very special evening. I'll be seeing Vishneva and Gomes tomorrow night. Life is good.

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Speaking of laughing at the death scene of Mercutio, I have had the same experience about 10 years ago at the MET, when Herman Cornejo was playing the role. There were a bunch of young (probably teenage) girls who were laughing out loud.

Last week Royal Ballet was performing Romeo and Juliet in Tokyo and of course no one laughed. Also not in ABT's Japan tour a few years ago.

I wished I could be there for Ferri's comeback as Juliet because I also went to her farewell performance in 2007. But anyway she will be in a gala in Tokyo next month with Cornejo, although not Juliet.

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I think the departure of Sterling Baca is a terrible loss for ABT. They should have seen his potential and developed him for principal status.

I agree with your first sentence but not your second. I do think management at ABT recognized Baca's potential and they were bringing him along at a steady pace. He was getting more and better opportunities. For instance, he partnered Stella Abrera in a Swan Lake extract at the Kaatsbaan 25th gala and he was purple Rothbart just this week (which is a principal role at ABT.) Compared to just about anyone else in the corps, he was doing well.

To me, the real issue is that the path to principal at ABT can be a slow one and Baca wasn't willing to wait. Unfortunately for ABT, Angel Corella was able to offer Baca a principal dancer position right now as a result of his getting rid of half the company at Pennsylvania Ballet. Also, Corella was willing to take on Baca's girlfriend, Nayara Lopes, who is a dancer at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. For Baca and Lopes, this is a win-win professionally and personally because they'll now be on the same company schedule.

I hate to see Baca go. I think he was on track to become the primo ballerina at ABT in time. But I'm not sure what else ABT could have done differently given the nature of its repertory and all the male dancers who are ahead of Baca in the principal and soloist ranks.

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I remember alot of people laughing during Simkin's portryal of dying Mercutio. Then no one really laughed when Scott was performing the same scene the other night. I dont remember how they reacted to Salstein but they probably didn't laugh as much as they did during Simkin's performance.

Seems like that Russian style of acting is perceived as campy in US.

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33 years ago she was 21 and Cornejo was 2. But I kept thinking during last night's performance that the first performers of that choreography in 1965 were Nureyev and Fonteyn, so it seems appropriate. They do seem to bring out the best in each other and I hope we can see them again in something.

That Royal Ballet DVD with Ferri and Eagling is still available on Amazon. I'm glad that at least companies like the Royal make some effort to preserve great performances for posterity.

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Simkin has posted on Instagram a very brief clip of himself and Misty doing the famous kneeling lift from the R&J balcony scene (the one that, back in the day, Ferri used to do with no hands), and I must say it does not look promising.

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I agree with your first sentence but not your second. I do think management at ABT recognized Baca's potential and they were bringing him along at a steady pace. He was getting more and better opportunities. For instance, he partnered Stella Abrera in a Swan Lake extract at the Kaatsbaan 25th gala and he was purple Rothbart just this week (which is a principal role at ABT.) Compared to just about anyone else in the corps, he was doing well.

To me, the real issue is that the path to principal at ABT can be a slow one and Baca wasn't willing to wait. Unfortunately for ABT, Angel Corella was able to offer Baca a principal dancer position right now as a result of his getting rid of half the company at Pennsylvania Ballet. Also, Corella was willing to take on Baca's girlfriend, Nayara Lopes, who is a dancer at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. For Baca and Lopes, this is a win-win professionally and personally because they'll now be on the same company schedule.

I hate to see Baca go. I think he was on track to become the primo ballerina at ABT in time. But I'm not sure what else ABT could have done differently given the nature of its repertory and all the male dancers who are ahead of Baca in the principal and soloist ranks.

There are other tall dancers in the corps just waiting for a chance to show their talent specially Gray Davis, Daniel Mantei and Marshall Whiteley.

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Simkin has posted on Instagram a very brief clip of himself and Misty doing the famous kneeling lift from the R&J balcony scene (the one that, back in the day, Ferri used to do with no hands), and I must say it does not look promising.

Indeed! Although that move was not particularly strong with Cornejo or Hammoudi either this week. Marcelo can pull it off. And if you're in the mood to look at old recordings, see what Baryshnikov does with it in The Turning Point, which thoughtfully included much of the balcony PdD.

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. But I'm not sure what else ABT could have done differently given the nature of its repertory and all the male dancers who are ahead of Baca in the principal and soloist ranks.

On the female side, ABT has had no problem cutting the line, whooshing dancers from the corps de ballet into principal status with a hiccup or two as soloist. No reason they couldn't have done this on the male side with Baca. When someone special comes along--and Baca is special--letting him wait on line no longer holds, especially in a company that has a history of cutting the line. It seems a lack of foresight to me.

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On the female side, ABT has had no problem cutting the line, whooshing dancers from the corps de ballet into principal status with a hiccup or two as soloist. No reason they couldn't have done this on the male side with Baca. When someone special comes along--and Baca is special--letting him wait on line no longer holds, especially in a company that has a history of cutting the line. It seems a lack of foresight to me.

Um, who are you thinking of?

It neither of the last 2 female principals have moved up quickly.

Isabella Boylston and Hee Seo are the only principals you could say that of. Isabella joined in 2007, was made soloist in 2011 and principal in 2014.

Hee joined 2006, soloist 2010, principal 2012.

Not slow certainly but not precisely a whoosh either.

Veronika sat as soloist for eons. the others besides Gillian (ages ago now) came in as principals...

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I think it would have been premature for ABT to move Baca up to Principal now. He seemed to have had a great future at ABT but must not have wanted to wait. I wouldn't be surprised to see him return at a later date. Time will tell.

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I think it would have been premature for ABT to move Baca up to Principal now. He seemed to have had a great future at ABT but must not have wanted to wait. I wouldn't be surprised to see him return at a later date. Time will tell.

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