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ABT 2016 Romeo & Juliet

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I am finally getting around to writing up my impressions of two performances.....

Boylston/Whiteside/Simkin - R&J

As I had hoped, Boylston was a charming Juliet who oozed pure innocence and love. Her dancing was youthful, feminine, secure and strong. And she had those gorgeous loose arms which made for such wonderful lifts which were particularly beautiful when Whiteside was tossing her around. The final scene was especially breathtaking.

Whiteside was the big surprise. He was a wonderful partner and his dancing was first-rate, but his facial expressions need a lot of work. Many people on BA alert complain that he never changes expression. I agree that it is minimal. He does change his expressions, but it is subtle. But even with his limited range of expressions, they both managed to bring tears to my eyes in the final scene. They did MacMillan proud.

Simkin was an electrifying Mercutio which he danced with his usual technical brilliance. He had the perfect combination of seriousness and good humor and is a born natural for the role.

Victor Barbee was heart wrenching as Lord Capulet. This Lord was really distressed. Stephanie Williams was pretty good as Lady Capulet and Patrick Ogle was a very convincing Tybalt. I have seen him dance the role in previous years, and he is really growing into the role. I loved Calvin Royal’s Benvolio. Sometimes the Benvolio character can be so bland, but Royal had a perfect mixture of acting and great dancing. When will he be promoted to soloist???? Foster did a wonderful job playing Paris. He really lost his patience with Juliet. Depending on the dancer, this can often be an invisible role. Foster really stood out for me.

Unfortunately some baby or kid was screaming and crying during the first act. It was so loud that we heard it from the other side of the orchestra. I’m sure it was a distraction to the dancers and orchestra as well. It took at least five minutes for it to stop during the performance. When we were leaving the theater, we heard the exact screaming and crying from a kid who looked to be about 8 years old, so we’re guessing it wasn’t a baby after all.

Copeland/Simkin/Salstein - R&J

First let me start off by saying that I attended this performance to see Daniil’s debut as Romeo, and he did not disappoint. Daniil was an absolutely gorgeous Romeo. Playful, loving, and gut wrenching. His dancing was exceptional as always. He broke my heart. She didn’t.

Misty was marginally better in R&J than Swan Lake probably because the dancing is not nearly as difficult for Juliet. But I still saw the same shortcomings, especially with her back flexibility. Copeland and Simkin are well matched in height, but that’s about it. I have no idea why people on BA keep saying he is too short for her. He is much taller than she is, and they look fine together when she is on point. However, as with their Swan Lake, I see no chemistry between them. I thought Daniil partnered her well, with the exception of one lift. I am not sure who was at fault, but Misty had trouble getting her footing on Daniil’s shoulder. I didn’t see any other mistakes or mishaps other than that.

I would love to see Simkin dance R&J with Boylston as they always have chemistry to spare.

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Just an opinion, Simkin is too small for Boylston and not a strong enough partner to handle someone taller than himself.

Yes, of course you are entitled to your own opinion. But I do wonder if you have seen them dance together as Isabella is not taller than Daniil. Sure, she is taller when on point, but that is not very uncommon. I’ve been to all of their NY Swan Lakes and Don Qs and he is quite strong, and has no difficulty partnering her. Their performances just got better and better. I was so disappointed when they were not cast together this year as they have terrific chemistry.

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I have seen them dance together up close and onstage, on pointe and off pointe. Off pointe is only okay. They are both consummate professionals. They will do their best give you a fabulous show. She remains too tall for him.

I have only seen Simkin offstage, and he is taller than me. And of course I’ve seen Simkin and Boylston together on stage both on pointe and off pointe. I guess their partnership reminds me a little of Julio and Nina. The first time they were paired together (as a result of her original partner’s injury), I actually called ABT to make sure that the NYT was correct about them being scheduled to dance together. I remember asking if Nina wasn’t too big for Julio and would he be able to lift her. The response was, “Julio is very strong”. Needless to say, it turned into a gorgeous pairing. And of course there was the excellent partner, Jock Soto, who was usually shorter than most of his partners when they were on pointe.

In any case, I do like seeing the girl a bit smaller for the boy, so I guess I can’t argue with you from an aesthetic point of view. Simkin is obviously more suitable with Sarah Lane, Maria K. and of course Misty. However size isn’t everything, as I do feel chemistry lacking with the latter. I would prefer to see him with someone taller on pointe rather than dancing with someone who is shorter, but lacking chemistry. But hey, I don’t make up the casting schedule, and will just have to take what they dish out.

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