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ABT 2016 Romeo & Juliet

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Much like 1991 with Bocca and Fracci at ages 24 and 55 - there were people who loved it emotionally.

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Much like 1991 with Bocca and Fracci at ages 24 and 55 - there were people who loved it emotionally.

Please don't presume to say why people loved it.

If that is how a mummy dances... bring on the mummies!

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FYI, NY Times loved it and wants Ferri back at ABT for more performances in the future. Review in the links. Different strokes ,,,,,

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Please don't presume to say why people loved it.

If that is how a mummy dances... bring on the mummies!

To each his or her own.

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FYI, NY Times loved it and wants Ferri back at ABT for more performances in the future. Review in the links. Different strokes ,,,,,

Exactly!

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Yes, different strokes.

My only comment is that there are complaints that young dancers do not get a chance to dance and develop, and then end up leaving the company (or even worse end up languishing in the corps). Bringing in stars over the past number of years has severely hampered the development and chances of certain talented dancers. If the company starts bringing back retirees or begins keeping dancers into their forties, what does that mean for the younger dancers and their development? I was of the opinion that Julie stayed a season or two too long.

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IMO, you're being polite. I saw, and adored, many performances of Kent in her younger years, but I could say, quite conservatively, that Kent (and Herrera) stayed at least 5 or 6 years too long. And that's conservative. Meanwhile, beautiful dancers with great potential languished without the coaching that comes with those principal roles.

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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...

I'm thinking precisely of Boylston's and Seo's leaps from soloist to principal.

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I'm thinking precisely of Boylston's and Seo's leaps from soloist to principal.

This is no different than the trajectory for the principals on the male side (dates listed corps--soloist---principal)

Cornejo: 1999--2000--2003

Gomes: 1997--2000-2002

Hallberg: 2001--2004--2006

Simikin: 2008 (soloist)--2012

Stearns: 2006--2009--2011

Whiteside: 2012 (soloist)--2013

In fact the men currently on the roster have all moved up faster than the women you single out.

There is no "line," for promotion. For many dancers soloist is the destination and they know it.

These dancers filled a need within the company, despite what "we" may feel as outsiders, or any perceived injustices.

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It's childish to think that there is a "line" in a ballet company and that people are "cutting in line." This isn't the first grade line to the bathroom. And it's exactly this mentality that makes ABT such an inartistic company. Why bother to improve the corps de ballet, put on different ballets other than the same 5 or 6 warhorses, when all the audience cares about is whether their "favorites" are cast or not? So Alessandra eliminated every jump, modified every lift, and could barely stand on pointe. But she's ALESSANDRA so we'll cheer till midnight. Blech.

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It's childish to think that there is a "line" in a ballet company and that people are "cutting in line." This isn't the first grade line to the bathroom. And it's exactly this mentality that makes ABT such an inartistic company. Why bother to improve the corps de ballet, put on different ballets other than the same 5 or 6 warhorses, when all the audience cares about is whether their "favorites" are cast or not? So Alessandra eliminated every jump, modified every lift, and could barely stand on pointe. But she's ALESSANDRA so we'll cheer till midnight. Blech.

I agree.

I was there last night to see Bolle. Although a 40-year old dancer, he still performed all of the choreography and he was an amazing partner. No problem whatsoever with the kneeling lift referenced above. And, it does not hurt that he is still so physically beautiful. However, in the interview/article below, he talks about continuing to dance. I am not sure I want to see him at 50 performing Romeo.

http://www.gramilano.com/2015/03/roberto-bolle-on-not-retiring-at-forty/

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It's childish to think that there is a "line" in a ballet company and that people are "cutting in line." This isn't the first grade line to the bathroom. And it's exactly this mentality that makes ABT such an inartistic company. Why bother to improve the corps de ballet, put on different ballets other than the same 5 or 6 warhorses, when all the audience cares about is whether their "favorites" are cast or not? So Alessandra eliminated every jump, modified every lift, and could barely stand on pointe. But she's ALESSANDRA so we'll cheer till midnight. Blech.

My point is simply that if a company is thinking long-term and it sees the potential in a dancer like Sterling Baca, the company needs to groom him for the next level and the next. "Cutting the line" is used colloquially. It's not the dancers themselves who are cutting in, but rather the AD making decisions that may be short-sighted for the long-term health of the company. Especially with the absence of Hallberg and the age of some of the male principals, cultivating a new principal from within the company should have been a priority. Sterling Baca would have made a wonderful addition to the principal roster and is an opportunity missed. This is, of course, my personal opinion.

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If ABT can't train the world class dancers, then they might as well start importing the stars to keep their audience. Or else, they better start giving their dancers better coaching because non of them are attracting enough audiences except maybe Bolle and Vishneva. Gillian is a wonderful dancer but almost all her shows I attended were sold poorly with the exception of Swan Lake.

Also, if they want to recruit someone outside ABT, that someone better be an actual star. Recruiting Osipova and Vasiliev made sense to me. I was glad when Lendorf joined ABT but then he became injured... If ABT does perform La Fille again next year, I will definitely see him as Colas! Plus, he can actually partner up with a female dancer who's as tall as him.

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ABT an inartistic company? My! How insulting and how wrong, in my opinion. As an ABT aficionado, I care about both what's being performed AND who's cast in it. Most ballet goers that I know have their favorite dancers no matter what company they're seeing. To say that only ABT "fans" care about who's dancing is off the mark. Luckily, ABT has a company full of fine dancers so finding ones to like is easy. Inartistic because the company doesn't try to improve its corps? Of course it works hard to improve its dancers at every level! Inartistic because it puts on "warhorses?" Thank heavens it does or those wonderful full length ballets wouldn't be seen! Only a company like American Ballet Theatre is able to put on 5-6 classical full length ballets in one season and I'm grateful for them. ABT tells stories through dance and does so because "Theatre" is and has been at its core. Alessandra Ferri may not dance as she did years ago but she sure tells a heck of a story. I love being moved by a ballet and she surely did that the other night. Inartistic? I don't think so.

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Age is just a number...provided that a dancer's technique is impeccable and they're continuing to grow artistically. Murphy, Abrera, or Bolle are still at the front of the pack on both fronts. If they were to let either slip, I would immediately change my opinion of them.

The other, departed dancers mentioned are...well...gone. (And if their departures came at the suggestion of management, perhaps management came to agree with you.) While I wouldn't be shocked to see Ferri come back for one more hot-ticket night with Cornejo, do we really expect ABT to seriously invest any more in someone entering an age that liable to injury?

Frankly, the fact that McKenzie has thrown Seo into so many gut-cruncher roles suggests to me that the administration has learned its lesson about letting a certain type of dancer slip into a strictly lyrical rep at the expense of their instrument.

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Just got back from the Misty/Danill matinee.

It was both good and bad. I'll start with the bad, to get it over with.

The first act partnering was not good. I actually enjoy Danill's dancing, and his solo work was fantastic as usual. The problem is that he needs a smaller ballerina to lift in this role. In no way am I calling Misty big (because I thought she was beautiful), but these two are just mismatched physically, and it showed. In the "sit on the shoulder" lift where Romeo carries Juliet on his shoulder (the first time they are alone, at the ball), Misty's foot got caught and I was really nervous he was going to drop her. They made it through, but the lifts were not very smooth during the balcony pas, he had trouble getting her up in the air a few times. And the beautiful boat lift where he is on his knees and lifts her (as shown in the video a few pages back) was even worse than the video. The partnering was better in the bedroom scene than the balcony pas, but I don't think these two should be doing this type of work together, they are too mismatched in my opinion.

Now for the good, outside of the partnering lift glitches, I liked both of them in these roles (just not together). I really enjoyed Misty's characterization. Yes, she is lacking a bit of flexibility in her arabesque and doesn't have the flexibility in her back like some of the other dancers, but I thought her acting was pretty strong considering she is relatively new in the role. I thought her crypt scene (where Juliet is dead and Romeo is "carrying" her around the crypt), was hauntingly beautiful. I was in the back of the orchestra and I believed her in the role. She still needs to develop further, but I think she could be a very good Juliet with time and in the hands of a competent partner.

Don't have much to say about Danill. Again, his solo spots were fantastic. Maybe he could try dancing with Kochetkova, it might be a better physical fit for him.

Other bright spots were Craig Salstein as Mercutio (he is my favorite Mercutio by far of the current ABT men) and Roman Zhurbin, who is such a menacing Tybalt.

In other news, I took my mom today and it was her first ever ballet. Five minutes into it (and even though I warned her) she asked me if any "words" were coming. I don't think I inherited my love of ballet from her. :)

I'm glad I saw Copeland today. I don't think I'll avoid her anymore, honestly I enjoy her more than Seo.

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Misty is only 5 ft. 2 in. She is the shortest Juliet on the current roster of Juliets. If Simkin can't partner her because she is too big, he shouldn't be dancing Romeo.

By the way, I saw the Seo Bolle cast on Friday. I thought both dancers were excellent. Talk about age just being a number- Bolle may be 40 years old or thereabouts on paper, but he dances like a much younger man. I normally am not a Seo fan, but Juliet suits her very well.

Cirio was a terrific Mercutio. Calvin Royal danced beautifully as Benvolio. Promote him!

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It's childish to think that there is a "line" in a ballet company and that people are "cutting in line." This isn't the first grade line to the bathroom. And it's exactly this mentality that makes ABT such an inartistic company. Why bother to improve the corps de ballet, put on different ballets other than the same 5 or 6 warhorses, when all the audience cares about is whether their "favorites" are cast or not? So Alessandra eliminated every jump, modified every lift, and could barely stand on pointe. But she's ALESSANDRA so we'll cheer till midnight. Blech.

There was an obstacle (ahem, Canbelto) to my seeing the balcony scene but I thought Ferri did fine in the bedroom scene and unlike some other Juliets, didn't get hysterical or overact. And I have never seen Cornejo so totally possessed by a role. When he took the letter to the priest, he was frantic and, sitting in the fourth row of the orchestra, I could see him mouthing the words "Please, please". He was similarly distraught after killing Tybalt. I think he might have been crying. We all know that Herman is virtuosic dancer but I never realized he is a fantastic actor. It's possible that personal issues made those scenes more poignant. But I think, whatever the faults of their dancing, Ferri and Cornejo were by far the couple with the better acting skills (This season I have only seen Diana and Marcelo). They moved me to tears, something not even Ferri and Bocca did. So I say, if she can dance, bring her back once or twice a season.

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Misty is only 5 ft. 2 in. She is the shortest Juliet on the current roster of Juliets. If Simkin can't partner her because she is too big, he shouldn't be dancing Romeo.

Gorak will be her Romeo at the Wolf Trap performance. Have they done this anywhere else? Simkin won't even appear as Mercutio, undeniably a superb role for him.

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Gorak will be her Romeo at the Wolf Trap performance. Have they done this anywhere else? Simkin won't even appear as Mercutio, undeniably a superb role for him.

Gorak and Copeland did R&J during last year's Met season. I'm guessing Simkin has other performance commitments elsewhere during Wolf Trap.

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OK. So, I've thinking and pondering for a day or more about the Thursday Ferri/ Cornejo "R&J". I even took a day off to see "King and I" across the Plaza. Excellent, BTW). But to "R&J". I am with McCauley and the "approvers" on this one. I didn't buy a ticket to this expecting to see the Ferri of 20 years ago. I bought my seat with the assumption that if she had agreed to dance this role again and with her old company and back on the Met stage, it was very possible that she felt ( for her) there was more to examine and say about this role. And so I went just to hear this new "voice". I came "to listen". Somewhere up thread someone made the comment that her mother asked when "the words" would happen. For me they happened the minute she came on stage. I heard again the poetry of Shakespeare in her dancing. Her ability to use the choreography to tell Juliet's story was astonishing. So often we see a dancer "move here on count six","drop the green shawl just here". But for Ferri it was as if it was all just happening, now, in the moment. Yes, some of the choreography may have been a bit altered from what we know, or even danced in a different place on the stage than where we usually see it done. But that only added to the immediacy of her dancing. Think back one week to the discussion of whether or not dancer "A" or dancer "B" does 32 fouettes in Black Swan and you'll know what I'm talking about. It really isn't relevant to the entire portrayal; the whole picture. Here we saw a young girl come of age before our eyes, fall in love, find the need to make a possible life altering decision, and in the end come to utter betrayal and heartbreak and death. Ferri's ability to "say" all of this with her dancing was what I came to see. And I found my reward. OK, she started out a bit tentatively, but then so does Juliet. Her awareness of Romeo and it's ultimate repercussions were finely etched. The beginning moment in the balcony scene where she places his hand on her heart also brought the beautiful lyrics of "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story to mind. And I thought the bedroom scene from pas de deux onward was one of the best ever. Was this the definitive "Romeo and Juliet"? Hard to say. But it is the one from which I will judge all others. A very great artist has "spoken" to us in a new and energizing "voice" . I truly hope that the wings at the Met were crowded with the young dancers of ABT. (I know. That may not be possible).. Still, this was an exquisite lesson in how a ballet should, or could transform us. Thank you to Alessandra for your courage to dance again. And thanks to ABT for making it happen. Bravo to all.

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