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Helene

Winter 2017 Season, Attempt Deux

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We've lost the original 2017 Winter Season thread, and apologize to all who posted their impressions.

 

If anyone received email notifications that a new reply was posted  --  they should include the text of the post, and even if deleted from your Inbox, they may still be in your deleted items/trash folder -- we'd appreciate it very much if you would forward them to us at pavlova.nijinski@gmail.com.  We can try to recreate the thread the best we can.

 

ETA:  Please see the post below. 

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@angelica has forwarded us the motherlode of notifications :flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers:

 

I'm putting them in the order of notification, and I'm trying to group together quotes and responses. 

After I post, all dates are notification dates, not the posting times, since there's a delay.  But they should reflect the general time posts were made.

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And I just realized, Helene, that I could have searched my Trash folder for Ballet Alert and deleted the ABT posts and sent the NYCB ones all at once, instead of a gazillion separate emails. Well, hopefully there will not be a next time, but if there is, that's what I'll do. In the meantime thanks for this great forum.

 

Also, you may have noticed that sometimes two and three posts are in a single email, if they were together in my Trash folder.

Edited by angelica
clarification

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I don't know what happened to this thread but I wanted to post to the winter season topic so I hope this is the right place. I attended this afternoon's Sleeping Beauty performance. Overall, wonderful and exhilarating. Very impressed with the speed, energy, and perfection of the configurations of so many dancers on stage. As others have commented, the music was fast and there were a couple of times when the dancers had to speed up to keep up. I would have liked them to hold their positions just a little longer. I haven't seen the NYCB version of this ballet in a few years, but I saw ABT's last spring. Did ABT have such a long first act? I don't remember. My impressions of the individual dancers: Sterling Hyltin was exquisite--delicate yet effervescent, projecting and connecting with the audience, a memorable Aurora. Chase Finlay has a beautiful line and executed his solos well, but I somehow felt he did not project the essence of the prince as well as I would have liked. BUT they did the one-armed fish dive beautifully and I was waiting for that after reading so many posts about the dive on this thread. It was thrilling. Another BUT--Megan Fairchild and Spartak Hoxha stole the show as Princess Florine and the Bluebird. Megan was both technically perfect and musically expressive, full of joy. It was such a pleasure to see how much she has improved her expansiveness after her Broadway run. Hoxha drew gasps and cheers in his solos. More of him please! The jewels (especially Alexa Maxwell) and the court jesters were exciting and full of pizzazz and energy. The only role that disappointed me was Savannah Lowery as Lilac Fairy. For me, she didn't capture the character of the role. There was a heaviness to her studied movements. When I saw the ABT version, Stella Abrera breathed life and compassion into the role. One more impression--I had not seen Joseph Gordon in a solo role before and although he executed competently, I hope he will take some acting lessons to bring some expression to his face and his performance. Anyway, I rarely post because I don't get many opportunities to come to a performance, but I wanted to share my impressions and thank you all for your posts, which I read faithfully.  

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I think I captured them all, and the way you sent them was more than fine @angelica!

 

I think there were some missing -- notifications only list the most recent post it detects after a log, and there could be posts between that post and the post in the next notification -- but I've tried to group them so that they make sense, starting with the next post.

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February 8, 2017 at 8:49:11 PM EST (notification date)


@chicagoballetomane posted:

 

I can't believe Cameron Dieck is performing a featured role 15 times that week! Including all 3 ballets on some nights!
 

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February 11, 2017 at 6:49:59 AM EST (notification date)

@variated posted:

Hope you don't mind a stranger interrupting but I am a London ballet watcher (have only ever seen the odd NYCB dancer at galas in Europe) flying to NY today and after some cancelled evening plans have just bought a last minute ticket for this evening's Beauty.  Am very excited to see Boulder and Mearns live but was wondering whether there is anyone in the minor roles who may be interesting to look out for?  Local views much appreciated (can reciprocate with RB, ENB, POB for anyone travelling t'other way)

thanks

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February 11, 2017 at 9:12:33 AM EST (notification date)


@cobweb replied:


Hi variated! For tonight the fairies are all reliably lovely senior corps members; my favorites among them are Lydia Wellington and Megan Mann. Among the precious stones, you can check out Chase Finlay, who I love but not everyone gets. Lauren King is a favorite among many on this board. Taylor Stanley (puss in boots) is a dancer of incredible talent, but this is not the role to show it. (He hasn't been doing much this season -- not sure why -- injury?) Finally, Anthony Huxley as Bluebird. To me, Huxley is like a diamond -- when he shows up on stage, his clarity and brilliance light up the space around him, and everything else seems dull by comparison. Hope you enjoy the home team! Would like to hear your report afterwards. A trip to Paris or London may be in the offing for me, so I will take you up on the return favor. 

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February 11, 2017 at 5:14:36 PM EST (notification date)

 

@Drewreplied*:

 

I second the note above about Kristin Segin. But also perhaps worth saying NYCB's Sleeping Beauty while beautiful and quite traditional in many ways is still very a much a New York City Ballet Sleeping Beauty. Well, unless the company has very much changed the way they dance the ballet since I saw it -- which is a real possibility as that was some years ago. But at least when I saw it, this was not a production full of exquisite Vaganova-esque epaulement or luxuriant posing or obsessed with extra-correct displays of classroom exactitude. There are no hugely exaggerated extensions as one might find in a Russian production, but the dancers are certainly not dancing as if it were the nineteenth century either. The designs are magical and the dancers (the best of them anyway) are bold and fresh and fast. Well, that's how it seemed to me years ago anyway.
 

*[There's a missing post with a reference to Kristin Segin]

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February 16, 2017 at 10:03:43 PM EST (notification date)

 

@variatedposted:


I'm sorry that it's taken me some time to come back after you all gave me so much helpful insight before Saturdaynight's performance. Work, then travel kept me very busy after Saturday evening's show but I wanted to payback and share how it appeared to an outsider (particularly since I've just seen Francesca Hayward's Aurora debut at the ROH this afternoon that provided lots of food for thought on contrasts)


My overwhelming reaction was that the NYCB Beauty and its dancers are FAST!!!! The whole ballet went by at a zipping pace and, whilst being pretty jetlagged I was grateful to avoid some of the ponderous longueurs that I often feel in other productions, there were a couple of times when I would have liked a bit more space.  In particular the Lilac Fairy variation - Sara Mearns was SO good(what lovely arms!)that I would have liked to see the solo taken at a more adagio pace.  I also missed the prince's 'yearning' variation in the hunting scene.  But for most of the solos and the Garland Dance, I loved the tempo and was really impressed with the quickness and lightness of the dancers, without sacrificing precision.  As promised by several people, Lauren King in Emerald was particularly outstanding and I really enjoyed the 'finger fairy' variation (I don't have the cast list with me and can't remember the name given to that in this production).  I was interested to see Chase Finlay in Gold too - some beautiful lines there.  Huxley's Bluebird was awesome!  Whoever said in their post that there was no emphasis on holding poses and shapes in this production got it absolutely right - but I felt this was very well compensated by the sense of continuous movement along with the music.
  
But it was Mearns who impressed me the most - such an authoritative stage presence, and she really made something of the mime and acting of the Lilac Fairy, which I think is often the weakest link in the Royal  production these days - would love to see her again in different roles.  
  
Bouder has technique that goes on for ever and was a very impressive Aurora.  She reminded me a lot of Nunez - steely strength and a beaming, confident presence.  It all felt very secure and 'whizz-bang' but there wasn't too much sense of character development.  But I wonder how much of that is to do with the speed of the production? It doesn't seem to give the ballerina much time and space to develop a nuanced character - but those of you who have seen more casts will have a better view on that.
  
Some of the costumes and design were a bit bright and garish for my tastes, but I came away feeling very cheerful.  Will definitely try to find time to see NYCB again on future trips - seeing such a contrasting production makes you look at the ballet in a new way and that's always an interesting thing!
  
Thanks again everyone for your guidance

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February 16, 2017 at 6:26:29 PM EST (notification date)


@Drewreplied:


Thank you Variated for your report -- I think of Mearns as a very special ballerina and it's fun to read she struck someone new to the company the same way! (When this production premiered many people commented on the speed of the dancing.)
 
I hope I get to see Hayward's Aurora some day!

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February 16, 2017 at 10:03:43 PM EST (notification date)


@vipa replied


Thank you so much for your impressions. I've heard much about Hayward and hope to see her one day. In terms of Bouder and character development being hampered by the speed of the production, I don't think that is the case. I don't know about Lauren Lovette, but the other 3 Auroras - Fairchild, Peck and Hyltin offer more nuanced characterizations. Bouder can be wonderful but (this might be a topic for discussion) I sometimes wonder if dancers who, early in their careers, are known for their technique focus on that  more than other aspect of performing. On the other hand Bouder is incredible and I treasure the memory of some performance I've seen her do. She is a gift to ballet goer!

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February 17, 2017 at 7:24:23 AM EST (notification date)

@variatedposted:

Royal's production is a bit of a mish-mash these days.  Officially it is a reconstruction (by Monica Mason and Christopher Newton) of the de Valois (with Ashton after Petipa) production that re-opened the Opera House in 1946 after the war, with the original Messel costumes.  But there is also some Antony Dowell in there and the Garland Dance is Wheeldon.

 Hayward, as everyone was expecting, was a charming Aurora.  Technically made it seem easy, but wasn't over-ambitious on the Rose Adagio balances (for which I was musically grateful).  She started off as a very young and excited 16 but was suitably mature and regal in the final pas de deux.  There is a lot of affection for her from the London audience, probably helped by the fact that the preparations for her Sugar Plum debut were the main focus of an hour-long BBC documentary on Christmas day.  However, if you get a chance to come to London I would also recommend seeing Akane Takada, like Hayward newly promoted to principal, whose Aurora is an extraordinary feat of pure classicism, with a more subtle but delicate characterisation.  They are both very musical indeed.  On Saturday there is another hotly-anticipated debut from soloist Yasmine Naghdi, partnered by another British dancer Matthew Ball.  Their Romeo and Juliet last year was quite the hit and much is expected from them - she is an excellent technician.   With Nunez partnered by Vadim Muntagirov doing the cinema relay performances, we are quite spoiled for principal casting these days.

 Things get a lot ropier once you get to second, third or fourth cast for the solo variations though (and unlike in NY we don't get casting for anyone but the two leads in advance).  And the less said about the lilac fairies the better - the Royal's version of the variation is fiendish and since Nunez stopped doing the role, not one person has registered a smooth performance.

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February 17, 2017 at 1:38:11 PM EST (notification date)

@canbeltoposted*:

variated thanks for your impressions! I agree that the Lilac Fairy variation for the RB is so difficult I've rarely seen any dancer pull it off. Interestingly the Ratmansky version has a similar variation that ABT dancers came to so much grief with that most of the them ended up doing the "Marie Petipa" variation. Only Stella Abrera did those pirouettes in arabesque. 

 

*[This was captured from a quote reply, and it may not be the entire post]

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February 17, 2017 at 1:38:11 PM EST (notification date)

 

@fondoffouettesreplied:


In terms of the ABT women, Devon Teuscher was also superb in this variation. She executed the pirouettes in arabesque perfectly when I saw her. Stella Abrera is still probably my favorite Lilac Fairy all around, though. She doesn't execute turns with as much ease as Teuscher, but her characterization is superb. 

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February 11, 2017 at 6:31:10 PM EST (notification date)

 

@Royal Blue posted:


Ballet never seems more serious or real than when an exceptional ballerina dances with a straight face and downcast eyes to hauntingly beautiful music. Last evening The Vision segment from The Sleeping Beauty with Tiler Peck as Princess Aurora was ineffably exquisite. Never did an intermission seem more apt than the one that followed at this point.
 
Even though Ms. Peck can do some of the balances in the Rose Adagio more comfortably than she did last night, it was sheer joy to watch her from the moment she first entered the stage to the end of the ballet. I think we are many years away from her fans having to defend her great talents. Forget for a moment the obvious strength and beauty of her dancing. The woman certainly also knows how to strike a marvelous pose, how to make a mere walk from one point of the stage to another look ever so comely, how to scurry towards the wings in the loveliest of ways … And she most definitely knows how to get into the spirit of a narrative ballet, especially an essential one like The Sleeping Beauty.
 
Speaking about making the art form seem real, Ashley Laracey gave the impression of being the actual Lilac Fairy instead of a ballerina dancing the part! What a marvelous debut this was! To pair these two incredibly graceful women in this work was an awesome idea.
 
NYCB has many wonderful male dancers too, and Tyler Angle is among the very best. He was splendid as Prince Désiré, and as others often mention is especially to be commended for his excellent partnering. 
 

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February 11, 2017 at 9:46:57 PM EST (notification date)


@abatt posted:


I, too, thought that the Tiler/Tyler SB was wonderful.  Their dancing was impeccable, and their characterizations were vivid. I especially liked the way Tiler interacted with her suitors and with others on stage.  Laracey made a promising debut as Lilac.  Her beautiful, fluid arms were a pleasure, but I thought her mime could have been clearer.   Also, I did not find her to be an authoritative presence in the way Lilac should be.  There were also timing issues in her interactions with Krohn's Carabosse.
 
I also saw Bouder/Veyette on Wednesday.  Bouder is the Queen of technique and had super secure and impressive balances.  However, Bouder  never communicated the kind of grace, grandeur or elegance  of either  Tiler Peck or Sterling Hyltin.  (I have not seen Megan's performance.) Bouder's interactions with others on stage were either perfunctory or non-existent.   Mearns' expansive dancing as Lilac was captivating.
 
I thought Veyette and Angle both did very well as Desire.  They were gallant and regal.  Their techniques were mostly very secure.  I was very worried about Finlay, because he tends to sometimes have epic lapses in technique.  In fact, he had a meltdown as Gold on Wednesday evening.  His performance that night was a  mess, as he had trouble with his spins and his jumps.  Fortunately, he is better as Desire than as Gold.  He made an impressive debut this afternoon as Deisre, and my does he look the part of the romantic hero.  Notably, all the men I've seen at NYCB as Desire have accomplished the fish dive partnering only using one arm (i.e., the correct and difficult way).  In contrast, all the men except Gomes at ABT needed to use  both arms for the fish dives.
 
Gold is a killer variation, and I had some worries about both Catazaro and Janzen.  Catazaro came through with flying colors.  Janzen did too, but his variation looked completely different (easier) than the one Catazaro performed.  Did anyone else notice this?  Does Martins give the Gold dancers a choice of choreography?
 
There are too many supporting roles to go into.  Suffice it to say that NYCB is brimming with talent in the corps.  After watching the Peck sneaker ballet and the angst ridden Pontus Lindberg ballet last week, seeing these SB performances reminded me again of why I love the ballet.
 

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February 12, 2017 at 12:19:38 AM EST (notification date)


@Caesariatus posted:

 

Sterling Hyltin was absolutely wonderful in The Sleeping Beauty at today's matinee (Saturday).  I have rarely if ever seen a performance where a dancer sold the character as convincingly as Hyltin did, as a teenage girl being courted, a trapped spirit yearning to be released, or a newlywed anticipating happiness ever after.  Her port de bras, and upper body movement in general, was amazing.
 
A few other thoughts on the performance:
 
The costumes were very good, especially Carabosse's creatures, who were rocking a fly theme.
 
The balances in the Rose Adagio never work for me.  I mean in general -- Hyltin was fine as far as this goes -- but it never works artistically as far as I'm concerned.
 
My favorite scene was definitely the Vision.  Hyltin and Chase Finlay (Prince Désiré) showed real chemistry, even though they were mostly apart.
 
That said, Finlay didn't particularly impress me.  Other than the Vision scene he was ... OK.
 
My reaction after the Awaking scene was, "That was it?  Shouldn't this scene be a bit more dramatic?".
 
In other productions of SB I've seen Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf have always been a bit creepy, due to the rape subtext.  Here that was avoided by having LRRH played by a little girl (Alessia Riera) who reminded me of my four year old granddaughter, both by her looks and energy.
 
When I got home I checked my ballet spreadsheet, where I record every performance I've seen, and it turns out I have seen Hyltin before in major roles, but I had never been impressed the way I was tonight.  I don't know if it's because of the role, or because I caught her on a good night, or because of lack of attention on my part.  Hopefully I'll see her again before long.  Unfortunately, I buy tickets to NYCB too far in advance to know who'll be dancing, so it's a spin of the roulette wheel every time.
 

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February 12, 2017 at 10:57:23 PM EST (notification date)


@canbelto posted:


I saw three casts this weekend. My thoughts on the three very different casts:
 
http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2017/02/sleeping-beauty-marathon.html
 
Overall I think the Peck/Angle/Laracey cast was the best overall, but I wouldn't want to live without Sterling Hyltin's Aurora or Anthony Huxley's Bluebird.
 

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February 12, 2017 at 11:32:58 PM EST (notification date)


@vipa posted:


I just got back from the Sunday night performance. I believe it was an added show for SB. NYCB usually doesn't have Sunday night shows. I thought Tiler Peck was a very fine Aurora in characterization, technique and musicality. A brief fall in her first entrance solo didn't seem to shake her and it certainly didn't diminish the performance. I have to say that Alina Cojocaru is my favorite Aurora. I saw her do it twice and was amazed at the way she had very specific relationships with the people on stage (mother, father, each suitor, etc). Tiler Peck isn't there yet, but I feel she will get there as she grows in the role.
 
Tyler Angle is a favorite of mine and he didn't disappoint. I love his masculine presence and bearing, his wonderful partnering and his clean dancing. He and Tiler Peck were a lovely couple. The Wedding Pas was wonderful.
 
A few other highs and lows - My favorites of the fairies were Indiana Woodward who was clean, witty and musical as the Eloquence Fairy, and Unity Phelan as Courage. Phelan attached the brisk tempo courageously and conquered it!
 
Ashely Laracy was a wonderflul Lilac Fairy. She nailed her 1st variation in a way I've seen few others manage. She danced with graciousness and generosity, lush port de bras and a warm presence. 
 
In the Jewels, I found Catazano a bit sloppy. Savannah Lowery, Ashly Isaacs & Britany Pollack were all stellar in their variations. 
 
Blue Bird was on the weak side. Schumacher seemed underpowered. There was nothing in his variation that he completed fully or securely. Lauren King is always a radiant presence but some partnering mishaps marred the overall effect.
 
All in all an enjoyable performance mostly because of Tiler and Tyler. The audience was quite full
 

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February 13, 2017 at 10:26:17 AM EST (notification date)

 

@canbelto posted:


I think the Sunday show was because there wasn't a performance on Tuesday. Tuesday was the working dress rehearsal which was open to the public.
 

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February 13, 2017 at 1:13:47 PM EST (notification date)


@vipareplied,


That makes sense canbelto, thank you.
 

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February 13, 2017 at 10:44:43 AM EST (notification date)


@Colleen Boresta posted:


I attended the February 12th matinee.
  
After The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty is perhaps the favorite ballet of children (and adults who never quite grew up).  The story is a well known fairytale and young dancers take part in the performance, particularly in the Garland Waltz segment.  Peter Martins’ streamlined production of The Sleeping Beauty seems to be choreographed especially for little viewers.  In some versions of this ballet the plot can be lost amidst all the dancing.  Martins’ Sleeping Beauty allows the story line to shine through.

 

February 12th’s matinee performance of The Sleeping Beauty was beautifully done.  As Aurora, Megan Fairchild was marvelous in both her dancing and her acting.  Since her time performing on Broadway, Fairchild has really improved in the way she projects herself to the audience.   In the past I have found Fairchild’s dancing to be small in scale, but on Sunday afternoon she showed signs of real artistry.  I was especially impressed by the grandeur of her solo in the Wedding scene pas de deux.  In the Rose Adagio, Fairchild’s dancing lived up to my expectations.  She did have a tiny wobble in her first set of balances, but the last set was absolutely perfect.  As already mentioned, Fairchild’s acting was delightful.  In the Spell scene Fairchild truly seemed like a radiant sixteen year old prepared to face life and love.  She was  celestial in the Vision scene and a happily assured young bride in the Wedding scene.


Joaquin De Luz was a fantastic Prince Desire, who showed his love for Aurora in both his acting and his dancing.  He was an attentive partner and his solo dancing was as amazing as always.  De Luz’s leaps were incredible and his turns were performed at the speed of sound.  It’s hard to believe that De Luz is forty years old.  His technique has not lessened in the slightest bit.

 

Teresa Reichlen was a flawless Lilac Fairy.  The velvety flow of her incredibly long extensions was superb.  Her arabesques penchee appeared to go on forever.  Her exquisitely supple arms showed both her power and compassion.  Sara Mearns’ evil fairy, Carabosse, stood out for her clear strong miming and fantastic acting.  Mearns’ Carabosse was an aging beauty who gleefully took her revenge on an innocent child when she’s not invited to her christening.  Mearns’ portrayal showed that she has the makings of a superlative character dancer.

Daniel Ulbricht, along with ABT’s Daniil Simkin, was the best Bluebird I have seen in years.  His leg beats were inspired and his ballon was very exciting.  Brittany Pollack showed lightness and grace as Princess Florine.  As Red Riding Hood, little Zoe Ferguson was a huge audience favorite.   Her acting and dancing equaled that of a grown performer.  As the Wolf, Alec Knight stood out for his soaring leaps.   Claire von Enck and Devin Alberda were very funny in the White Cat and Puss in Boots duet. As the court jesters, Harrison Ball, Joseph Gordon and Troy Schumacher were spectacularly high flying.

 

New York City Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is close to a perfect ballet.  The costumes and sets are opulent and the orchestra performed the Tschaikovsky score flawlessly.  I only hope that Peter Martins does not make us wait another four years to see his Sleeping Beauty.

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February 13, 2017 at 12:28:02 PM EST (notification date)

 

@cobweb wrote:


I saw the Saturday evening (Bouder-Veyette-Mearns) and Sunday evening (Peck-Angle-Laracey) performances.


Ashley Bouder is a technical marvel, and I enjoy that, but her interpretation, such as it is, seems to be that Aurora is a whole lot like Ashley Bouder. She has one note: bright and energetic. That doesn’t give her partner a whole lot to play off of. Dramatically, this performance had no arc whatsoever. Tiler Peck, also a technical marvel, grew from a touching shyness to a radiant woman. Tyler Angle managed to convey depth and drama as well. They were wonderful.


Lilac Fairy. Sara Mearns was breathtaking. Beautiful as her dancing was, I most loved her sense of power, backing up her benevolence with an authority that looked like it could get dangerous. The mime sequence between Mearns and Veyette – “Lilac: Why are you so sad? –Desire: I don’t know! –L: Do you have someone in your heart? –D: My heart? No, I am lonely –L: I have someone beautiful for you, are you interested? –D: Yes!! –L: Follow me…” was perfect.


Ashley Laracey didn’t have Mearns’ authority, and as some have noted her mime was not as clear. I had the impression she’s too used to dancing as part of an ensemble, and should get more comfortable standing out. However, she was absolutely beautiful. Her entire carriage is ravishing. I could watch her walk around on demi-pointe all day. Watching her upper body, as the movement flows down her arms, through her wrists, and into her hands – it gives me a little thrill. I should add that Mearns also used her hands beautifully.
In other roles, it was great to see Joseph Gordon back in action. Preston Chamblee was one of the suitors, and it was great to see him too.


If anyone hears official news of this year’s Levin Award, please let us know!

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February 17, 2017 at 9:06:18 AM EST (notification date)

 

@abatt posted:


I thought Lovette was the weakest of all the Aurora casts.  During the Rose Adagio, she repeatedly dropped the leg that was in attitude several inches each time she went into an unsupported balance.  Additionally, early on in the Rose Adagio you could see that she was starting to come down off pointe, but she fought to put her foot back into the pointed position.  Since Aurora's signature pose is holding one leg in a high attitude position that is stable, I found her Rose Adagio disappointing.   I also did not like her floppy wrists.  Miriam Miller was joyous as Lilac Fairy, with gorgeous, expansive dancing.  She had a slip and fall that was during an easy section, so I guess it may have been nerves.  I also liked Grretchen Smith's Carabosse because it was dignified and not over the top.  (For over the top, see Marika Anderson, who plays it like she just escaped from a mental institution.)  Garcia was fine, except that he completely blew the first fish dive.  Poor Lovette was dangling in an awkward position. 


Added:  Go to NYCB's twitter page to see "flash footage" of Joe Gordon's debut in Gold.  I was able to see all of the Gold performers except Gordon.  I can see from the video that he danced the solo to a level of perfection that was lacking in the other casts.

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