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2018 Met Season


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I like Lane just fine, but those fouettés weren't an example of this dancer at her sparkling best. That's OK; it's one performance, and it's a video — they may have had more èclat in the theater. 

I'm in the tiny minority that doesn't think a full 32 counts of fouettés is particularly important, but that, in the case of Odile especially, a full 32 counts of something dazzling and seductive is. I'd rather see a ballerina do a big ol' manège of piqué turns brilliantly than a bunch of  fouettés indifferently, and without much theatre.  

 

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You don't have to be a human gyroscope to make those fouettes dazzling. For instance Natalia Makarova was thought to be a weak turner, but she cleverly accelerates her fouettes to hide the fact that they started off rather slow and listless and she also is a master of conveying triumphant body language:

 

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Makarova was the master of body language and stage craft.  Unfortunately, these days a lot of dancers think they have to throw in doubles to meet a certain standard. The  typical audience couldn't care less. They just want to see the music filled up with turns and a dazzling finish.  That's what dancers should go for.  

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Leaving aside the matter of substitutions and alternate approaches, Lane has posted some wonderful videos of herself rehearsing in the studio and dancing on stage in various ballets that show her at her stellar best. Given the side angle of the videographer and the hypothesized tiredness of Lane, why not simply take this video down so that people see her at her best, rather than her second best? If I were Lane and the camera caught me like that, I wouldn't want it all over the internet. 

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11 hours ago, vipa said:

Makarova was the master of body language and stage craft.  Unfortunately, these days a lot of dancers think they have to throw in doubles to meet a certain standard. The  typical audience couldn't care less. They just want to see the music filled up with turns and a dazzling finish.  That's what dancers should go for.  

Also, no one really wants to see a dancer fail; or, to put it more positively, everyone wants to see a dancer succeed. Body language is powerful, even from the stage. Heck, especially from the stage, where even the slightest bit of tightness in the shoulders or stiffness in the neck gets telegraphed all the way to the back of the theater as tension, nerves, or a lack of confidence. Even if they're not consciously aware of their response, there's some part of an audience member's brain that's made uncomfortable: as social animals, humans are exquisitely attuned to the nuances of body language. A dancer who fills the music with smiling, well-executed, and confident singles will make the majority of the audience happier than the dancer who is struggling and obviously distressed by it.

I think one of the reasons no one seems to mind an Ashley Bouder tumble (other than concern for her safety, of course) is that she exhibits utter confidence and self possession before, during, and after a fall. Her particular brand of daring is something we can enjoy on a visceral level.

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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The fouettes were also Sarah's weak spot when she debuted SL at the Met last season.  It wasn't just the problem w.  completion of  all the fouettes and filling out the entire music for that section of the ballet.  A separate problem at that performance was  that she broke character when things went poorly. She was no longer evil temptress Odile, but sad faced Sarah Lane.   A lot of people chalked it up to the fact that Lane was tossed into the role at the Met at the last minute.  Maybe that's the case, but the subject video of  her recent performance seems to support the opposite conclusion. 

Edited by abatt
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Those fouettes were fine. They got the job done. I adore Sarah's dancing, but yeah I think she needs to really get in the studio and have some intense fouette coaching. Especially for her debut in Don Q this spring season. And someone needs to tell her that 32 clean, confident singles are still going to wow the audience. 

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13 hours ago, angelica said:

Leaving aside the matter of substitutions and alternate approaches, Lane has posted some wonderful videos of herself rehearsing in the studio and dancing on stage in various ballets that show her at her stellar best. Given the side angle of the videographer and the hypothesized tiredness of Lane, why not simply take this video down so that people see her at her best, rather than her second best? If I were Lane and the camera caught me like that, I wouldn't want it all over the internet. 

Alas, the internet giveth and the internet taketh away.

That being said, I try my dead level best never to base my overall assessment of a dancer on a video, or even the sum of their videos.

A) It's just one performance. 50 things outside of the dancer's control could go wrong. (Alternatively, everything can go beautifully, magically right and a meh dancer can look like the best ballerina ever.) 

B) There are just too many things that can undermine any video, much less something shot on a phone and posted on Instagram. As Angelica has pointed out, the angle at which something has been shot can make it look worse (or in some cases better) than it looked in the theater. The music could be out of sync. The lighting could be funky. Makeup that looks terrific from halfway back in the theater looks like a Halloween fright mask in a close shot, and you can't unsee it.  Etc etc etc. 

Videos capture a moment in time, and they can help us think about what's important, or what's ideal, or what we respond to, or what we like, or how a particular dancer approaches a role, or a step, or the music – but they can't tell the whole story.

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Lane's fouettes in this recent video are different from what we saw at the Met. In this video she does a little stumble at the end and did some forward traveling but she finished them and did a fine job. And, she did not display the disappointment that she did at the Met. She could definitely use more coaching and preparation but I'm satisfied with this video.

Asking Boca to take down this video might not garner goodwill with them either (who knows, maybe she already asked). She didn't post it on her Instagram.

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39 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

As Angelica has pointed out, the angle at which something has been shot can make it look worse (or in some cases better) than it looked in the theater. The music could be out of sync. The lighting could be funky. Makeup that looks terrific from halfway back in the theater looks like a Halloween fright mask in a close shot, and you can't unsee it.  Etc etc etc. 

To give credit where credit is due, it was onxmyxtoes who pointed out that the video was taken at an angle from the wings, which I thought was an important observation.

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Well it's possible that Odette/Odile just isn't one of Lane's better roles. This isn't a knock on her -- many petite ballerinas have struggled making their mark on this role. One thing about Lane's Odile when I watched her live (that I also noticed in this video) was despite a surfeit of black swan eye makeup she just didn't look very predatory. This is not considering the fouettes at all. But she was very outward-facing, very smiley, and didn't exude any siren appeal.

I think her Giselle, Aurora, Juliet (when will that happen????), Colombine, Kitri, Nikya, Swanilda etc will all be better. 

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13 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Well it's possible that Odette/Odile just isn't one of Lane's better roles. This isn't a knock on her -- many petite ballerinas have struggled making their mark on this role. One thing about Lane's Odile when I watched her live (that I also noticed in this video) was despite a surfeit of black swan eye makeup she just didn't look very predatory. This is not considering the fouettes at all. But she was very outward-facing, very smiley, and didn't exude any siren appeal.

I think her Giselle, Aurora, Juliet (when will that happen????), Colombine, Kitri, Nikya, Swanilda etc will all be better. 

You may be right regarding Lane and O/O, but I'd take your next statement further by saying that many ballerinas (regardless of height) have struggled to make this role their own. I think it's extremely rare for any ballerina to be able to perform all of the full-length leads technically and artistically convincing. Besides the obvious technique required it's also a matter of personality. I still wish Lane was getting an O/O at the Met this year, as she may improve with more coaching and another shot, but if this role just isn't her forte I'd be ok with that. As you mention, she excels at so many others.

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6 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

I still wish Lane was getting an O/O at the Met this year, as she may improve with more coaching and another shot, but if this role just isn't her forte I'd be ok with that. As you mention, she excels at so many others.

I truly wish Lane was getting one. Her Odette at the Met was beautiful technically and emotionally. IMO a lot than some ABT principals who have been doing it for a while. The worst part of her Odile was breaking character when  the fouettes went bad. That is a mental game she will have to conquer. Artistically Lane has so much to offer (IMO) that if she can get her mental strength in order, I would go see her in any role because I think she has a unique voice. That's more important to me than a dancer being "ideal" for a role.

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IMHO, she was splendid as Odette and uncharacteristically seductive as Odile (i.e., she's a wonderful actress), and with some more experience doing those turns, and without the extenuating circumstances, would have pulled them off. She's a true ballerina.

 

 

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16 hours ago, angelica said:

IMHO, she was splendid as Odette and uncharacteristically seductive as Odile (i.e., she's a wonderful actress),

 

 

I was actually quite surprised how good her Odile was up until the fouette disaster - as you say, she was seductive. I attribute her inability to recover from the fouette flub - and possibly the flub itself- to inexperience and lack of confidence. And given how her career/growth/development at ABT has been handled by the powers that be, neither is surprising. IMHO ABT as a ballet company has a lot of issues. Nurturing dancers is one of them. 

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9 hours ago, Olga said:

I was actually quite surprised how good her Odile was up until the fouette disaster - as you say, she was seductive. I attribute her inability to recover from the fouette flub - and possibly the flub itself- to inexperience and lack of confidence. And given how her career/growth/development at ABT has been handled by the powers that be, neither is surprising. IMHO ABT as a ballet company has a lot of issues. Nurturing dancers is one of them. 

She was relying on Irina and Maxim to coach her for her unplanned debut. That says a lot.

Lane is in general a stronger turner than other O/Os in recent memory (I’m thinking of Part and Seo), so I can see her getting to a point where she owns the fouettés.

Boylston and Copeland have no business going anywhere near the role, but there’s really nothing left to be said on that topic, especially when it comes to Copeland. Up until recently I’ve still gone to the occasional Boylston performance to see how she’s progressing. She’s not. I’ll be avoiding her for the foreseeable future. Sloppy, unrefined dancing. Her saving grace is that she can leap and turn. 

I’ve been avoiding Seo for the past couple seasons but would like to see her in at least Bayadere to see if she’s made any strides in consistency (and expressivity, too).

Edited by fondoffouettes
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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

She was relying on Irina and Maxim to coach her for her unplanned debut. That says a lot.

Lane is in general a stronger turner than other O/Os in recent memory (I’m thinking of Part and Seo), so I can see her getting to a point where she owns the fouettés.

I agree with the others who have commented that Lane's debut in SL was going well until the fouettes.  I have certainly not been her biggest fan in the past, but I was really impressed with how the performance was going until that point.  The fouettes started strong, but my sense was that with the lack of experience and rehearsal, Lane seriously misjudged how much she had left in the tank to complete the sequence in the midst of a full-length performance.  I have no doubt she can complete the 32 bars on their own.

Irina and Max were sitting a couple of row ahead of me at the performance, and they got up very quickly after the performance, I'm sure to go speak to her.

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I suppose it's just hard to be equally good at both roles, especially when you lack the experience. I've seen ballerinas who eventually become good at both, but everyone has their comfort zone. And the only way to develop the other side is by practicing (on stage, in front of people. There is only so much that the studio can do for you in that sense). I never expected Lane to be a good Odile. However, I figured there are a few ABT ladies who seriously lack one (or both) of two characters. I wish they had given Lane another chance instead of having Copeland do 2 O/O's with two different partners, but we all know that ABT is driven by the "show me the money baby" movement. Teuscher, OTOH, is very deserving of getting a second O/O (and having Gomes as her partner. Now that is a must see partnership).

I don't know how to embed, so forgive me for linking. Behold some very brief Odette action by Ms. Lane. Certainly more within her comfort zone, but I'm sure more practice in studio and especially on stage will help her develop more. Now that my favorite Odette at ABT is gone, I need to find a new one. She might just be the one when the time comes. We'll see how things turn out.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbgjtCYBarl/?taken-by=kremlinballet

Edited by LadyBubbles
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I don't know whether anyone has already commented on this, but I noticed on the Royal's website that Hallberg is guesting with them for one perf of Giselle next spring, opposite Osipova. It would seem to have been an artists' swap, with Osipova's guest appearance with ABT next summer.

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6 minutes ago, Golden Idol said:

I don't know whether anyone has already commented on this, but I noticed on the Royal's website that Hallberg is guesting with them for one perf of Giselle next spring, opposite Osipova. It would seem to have been an artists' swap, with Osipova's guest appearance with ABT next summer.

Osipova-Hallberg are also doing Manon at the Royal Ballet on April 5 & 13.

http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/manon-by-kenneth-macmillan

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