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ABT 2017 Swan Lake


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Any reports from last nights Seo/Stearns/Gomes?

 

We've discussed the fouetté issue to death, but maybe Mckenzie needs to gather all of the current O/O's in a room (except perhaps Murphy because she doesn't struggle, but maybe for solidarity reasons....) and say that from now on everyone only does singles and without arm flourishes until they can complete them cleanly. I think part of the issue may be that the standards now require bigger and better tricks from both men and women (dancers, AD's and the public are all guilty of encouraging this). So dancers face immense pressure to try. Of course, there are many folks who disagree, including a lot of us on this board, but let's face it, as many of us have already written about ad nauseum, who gets the loudest applause and "bravos/bravas"? Not the dancer who just completed a heartrendering mime sequence or a delicate petite allegro, but the one who did air-splitting grand jetes and 540's and a dizzying array of turns. I love all of that too especially when said "tricks" are part of the story or character, they're important. But, purity of technique is more important. To single out Simkin for a moment, when he performs all of those gasp-inducing steps, he (nearly always) does them cleanly and lands perfectly, and he's improved his artistry so much to boot. That's what makes them exciting. If he fell on his fanny after every 540 he might get some gasps but for the wrong reason. I think maybe these ladies are hoping (this time) to get through the darn fouettes with doubles in tow (especially if they've done them in rehearsal) because singles are generally considered too simple nowadays. And, who knows what they're being coached to do. But, I agree that singles are beautiful and exciting but like anything else they have to be done cleanly. I think the audience, critics, etc would be very receptive to a blistering set of cleanly executed singles. Certainly more so than what we've been seeing. 

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Giangeruso in place of Hurlin, but her performance was much cleaner than the other day. 

 

Veronika's Act II was gorgeous. The debuts this week were exciting but so wonderful to see an experienced, master dancer who just fully embodies the role. A few tiny slips (including an odd change of legs during the rotation of beats between the 1st and 2nd finger turns at end of adagio). Pirouettes not as tight and fast as several years ago. But she still has very good flexibility and extensions, and her line is exquisite.

Edited by nanushka
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Intermission update: The Swan Queen has arrived! A majestic and magisterial account of Odette. I watched the adagio through tear-filled eyes. Veronika is a different creature all together -- those arms, that sorrowful face, the bird-like twitches of her head.

 

A few other notes: the flexibility in her back and legs seems to have gone back to pre-injury levels. Those luscious developees are back.

 

Funnily enough, given the recent talk on here about switching legs during turns, something similar happened at the end of the adagio. Part switched legs during each of the finger turns -- it definitely looked planned ahead of time and I have no idea what the reasoning behind it may have been. Perhaps her most recent injury is a foot or ankle one.

 

Pristine dancing from Whiteside and quite fine partnering. He seems more dramatically committed than in the past.

 

Calvin Royal was quite impressive in the pas de trois.

 

And Martine van Hamel is an excellent Queen. 

 

I dont usually count fouettes in Act III because I'm usually so overwhelmed in that moment but will try to do so today since they've become a hot topic on here!

Edited by fondoffouettes
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4 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

I think part of the issue may be that the standards now require bigger and better tricks from both men and women (dancers, AD's and the public are all guilty of encouraging this). So dancers face immense pressure to try. 

 

One result of this situation is what we've seen this season at ABT--a huge number of injuries, which is becoming more and more par for the course in the ballet world. Of course, these "tricks," and more and bigger jumps and turns, are not the only reason for the injuries, but they certainly contribute to their cause.

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As part of my own personal "tribute" to Lopatkina's retirement announcement this morn, I've been spending a marvelous day going down memory lane with my DVDs. I started by watching the Japanese series of DVDs of various VaganovaAcademy season-end performances in which Lopatkina took part, culminating in the DVD on Dudinskaya's graduates in 1991. Those young ladies - even most who were NOT selected to go into the Kirov - knew how to perform zippy, well-centered fouettés...displayed en masse in Sergeyev's From Lande to Vaganova "classroom-style" ballet. Is it that American & other non-Eastern European dancers are not taught the fouettés...or fouettés are deemphasized in the West...fewer tricks? 

 

In her own year-end performances at the Vaganova/Mariinsky, Veronika Part was not among the stronger fouettés artist in her class (1996 - Nekipelova, Ivanova, Zakharova & others were stronger)..but she sure could crank them out in a pinch.  It's served her well at ABT...whether or not she succeeded in today's matinee performance.

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Yes! It was the most comfortable I've ever seen her in them (the fouettes).

 

Also, she was basically liquid sex in the pas de deux. Wish I could come up for a more refined way of saying it, but WOW.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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6 minutes ago, alexL said:

She receieved 3 bouquets+1 thrown by an audience. Brava!!

6 minutes ago, alexL said:

 

Also, they tried to be cheap with the curtain calls, as they've done with matinees all season. The audience wouldn't leave and kept applauding, banging and hollering -- after the house lights came up -- until they gave Veronika another solo curtain call. Also what a class act Whiteside was. He let her bask in the initial curtain call all by herself and then joined her later. I'm too overwhelmed with emotion to write much more at the moment but will give a complete report later.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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1 minute ago, fondoffouettes said:

Also, they tried to be cheap with the curtain calls, as they've done with matinees all season. The audience wouldn't leave and kept applauding, banging and hollering -- after the house lights came up -- until they gave Veronika a solo curtain call. Also what a class act Whiteside was. He let her bask in the initial curtain call all by herself and then joined her later. I'm too overwhelmed with emotion to write much more at the moment but will give a complete report later.

I was one of those people who kept clapping!! 

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16 minutes ago, alexL said:

I was one of those people who kept clapping!! 

 

Me too! She looked so touched when she came out again. I'm so glad she finally did! Even a few orchestra members were lingering and clapping for that.

 

A wonderful second half. Beautiful PDD intro and adagio with a really really nice arabesque balance. Long and still. Nice variation; the turns in attitude were a bit tilted but the turns a la seconde were great. A beautiful full series of fouettés straight to the end. And throughout the scene she looked like she was having a blast.

 

Props to Whiteside for an excellent performance as well. His variation was superb. Fast tight double tours with perfect landings. He was dramatically engaged but not over the top; more princely than I've seen him. I'd still love to see her again with Gomes or Bolle or Nedak or Calmels but I'm finally satisfied by this partnership.

Edited by nanushka
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50 minutes ago, alexL said:

I'm happy to report you all that Veronika did all 32 fouettes including 2 doubles without traveling too much. She receieved 3 bouquets+1 thrown by an audience. Brava!!

 

Excellent. So the final tally for the week is 2-of-6 Odiles succeeding with fouettés...33.33%. Veronika & Devon rock!!!!!!

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2 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

Excellent. So the final tally for the week is 2-of-6 Odiles succeeding with fouettés...33.33%. Veronika & Devon rock!!!!!!

 

Though we haven't heard a report from last night, Hee Seo's second chance. And I suppose Misty could have a REALLY good night and get through them for once. Best not to finalize the tally until the bloody, bitter end?

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

 

Though we haven't heard a report from last night, Hee Seo's second chance. And I suppose Misty could have a REALLY good night and get through them for once. Best not to finalize the tally until the bloody, bitter end?

 

Do you really think that things will change tonight?

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How ironic if Seo did the fouettes the one night nobody on this forum saw her.  

 

Part is not the greatest turner but she has always been solid on the fouettes the three times I have seen her (twice in Swan Lake, once in Corsaire).  Even if her Swan hasn't moved me to the extent of others, great to hear this performance was a success for much more than just the fouettes.

 

Question, did Seo or Copeland attempt any doubles, before they ran into problems?  If they were just doing singles, that throws the "multiple fouettes vs. 32 clean singles" argument out the window, if they couldn't even handle the latter.  Not saying the fouettes are everything, but this is ABT and ballerinas have been doing them for over a century........

Edited by MRR
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One more thing about the fouettes - it isn't really 32. I never feel a need to count because it's really an amount of music. If you start with a double pirouette and do 29 or 30 singles (depending how you started with the music) - then pull in for a double - finish - you're good. If you delay the start a hair and finish with a releve in fifth we're talking 29 actual single fouettes, but looking OK.  It's not the number that matters (IMO) it's finishing out the fouette music looking like you're in control.

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5 hours ago, alexL said:

She receieved 3 bouquets+1 thrown by an audience. Brava!!

 

I wish the latter would happen more often. It's a lovely and almost lost tradition, here at least. (I know NYCB for one does not even allow them in.)

 

And the days of program confetti (maybe more an opera tradition) seem almost completely past.

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Ms. Part showed the youngsters how it's done today.  Nobody's mime was clearer.  The fouettes were neat singles, musical and controlled.  She had liquid movement and excellent characterization of the duality of the roles.  She kept switching feet because of her injury, I presume.  She's not as flexible as she was back in her youth.  And oh what a pleasure to see a tall, long limbed couple perform the ballet.  SL screams out for long limbs.  Something is definitely lost in the aesthetic presentation of the choreography when the leads are short dancers.  Whiteside partnered Veronika well, although sometimes when he was turning her she was tilted.  A most pleasurable afternoon.  This was my favorite SL of the week, and Devon was my second favorite.  SL is Part's calling card.

 

As an aside, this week made me miss Polina Semionova.   Polina always had such long, gorgeous lines and lovely extensions in SL; she also never had trouble with the technical demands. 

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I agree about Semionova.  Her performance with Gomes in 2011 left me in a euphoric state for days.  Her Swan with Hallberg in 2012 didn't have the same magic but was nonetheless creditable and  beautiful.  A shame her time at ABT was so short-lived.

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