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Benefit Gala for Hurricane Harvey Victims in NYC

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This was a wonderful benefit tonight and it was so nice to see Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews on stage again. I still miss them at ABT.


Mattthews gave a few curtain speeches scattered in between ballets and the chairwoman of the Houston Ballet also spoke. They talked about the amount of damage that the hurricane had done including to the ballet's main theatre. She said that the amount of rain that had fallen (51 inches!) on Houston was enough water to supply NYC for the next 5 years. I gasped but I appreciated that fact since how does one really comprehend how much rain that really is?


Anyway. Since this was a charity event and all of the artists donated their time, I won't critique, I'll just mention the highlights for me.


Kajiya was absolutely gorgeous in the Madame Butterfly pas and the Prayer solo from Coppelia. Really pretty choreography in Butterfly with lovely lifts. Ashley Mayeux and Sean Aaron Carmon from Alvin Ailey did Fix Me Jesus by Ailey. It's been years since I've seen the Ailey co and I was reminded how powerful and graceful their dancers are and what strong stage presence they have. Daniel Ulbricht and Daniil Simkin performed solos that showed off their best skills with lots of high flying leaps, pirouettes and plenty of personality. Ask la Cour of NYCB and Jacquelin Harris of Ailey did After the Rain which was mesmerizing. And, dancers from The Washington Ballet did Ratmansky's Bolero which was wow, wow, wow! ABT should do this piece which was much better than Ratmansky's new work that I saw on Friday. Julie Kent, who was in the audience, is doing an amazing job with this company. They were so well rehearsed, super confident and they tore up the stage. A lot of inventive choreography with difficult lifts. Great solo choreography for the men to dance that showed off their athleticism. One woman took a nasty fall but recovered well.


Besides Kent, Kevin McKenzie, Irina Kolpakova and a few ABT dancers were in the audience. 


Matthews said the United Way of Greater Houston (which 100% of the proceeds goes towards) is still accepting donations, so if anyone is interested you can check out Facebook.com/heartsforhouston2017 to find out how to donate.

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A wonderful, generous evening.  I was there too and was very thankful to Yuriko, Jared, and Alvin Ailey for bringing this fund raising event to us in NYC.    In spite of the hurricane's destruction to Houston Ballet's home, Yuriko and Jared looked in great shape and ready to face the future's challenges.  Yuriko was especially touching in the Coppelia Prayer Solo, bringing tears to I think everyone's eyes.


In addition to the above mentioned dancers by ABT fan, I ran to see Mayara Pineiro and Arian Molina Soca dance the DonQ Act 3 Pas de Deux.  They had just performed their full-length Sleeping Beauty in Philly, not an easy ballet especially stamina wise -- made it to NYC to deliver a DonQ full of Cuban fireworks.  His leaps were stunning, with the look of a sleek but powerful panther in the air.  She did every third fouette as a triple for the first 16....with such ease.... and finished with a smile and sparkling eyes to the audience. 

I was happy and sad to see Daniil with his killer technique and charm in what might be his last gala here before leaving ABT for Germany.  Wishing him all the best.  What an exquisitely talented dancer. 

Bravi to all the dancers who gave such heartfelt performances. 

Edited by sz
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