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2018-19 season: Washington Ballet

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48 minutes ago, theo said:

Sleeping Beauty may actually be performed at the KC Opera House. We'll have to wait and see when KC actually posts it to their schedule I think.   TWB dances in both the Eisenhower Theater and the Opera House.  They performed Romeo and Juliet in the Opera House this past February and I thought the company looked really good.  I did not feel a sense of smallness.  I'm hoping for the best.  

The WB listing says Eisenhower: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performance/2018-2019-season/sleeping-beauty

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23 hours ago, Helene said:

There's no winning this argument:  in Seattle, every season there are at least three ballets I wish we could see again right away, like in the next rep, and we either wait years, or they haven't returned, at least yet.  The only back-to-back I can remember is "One Flat Thing," the first two times it was done, and that was a very deliberate choice on Peter Boal's part.  

Perhaps "Serenade" is a ballet that Julie Kent thought had a traction with the local and/or subscription audience and/or the dancers.  

The problem with Serenade is that it's been performed so often here. Both the NYCB and Suzanne Farrell have performed it in the last few years.

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18 hours ago, CharlieH said:

What a disappointing season announcement, with all of the repetitions from the current one. Sleeping Beauty would normally get my cheers but with this smallish company? In the smallish Eisenhower Theater? Even with the added resources of the Studio Company and the School, the best that we could hope for is “Pocket Beauty” or “SB Light.”

The WB is only slightly smaller than the Colorado Ballet, and the Colorado Ballet has put on some quite credible performances of Sleeping Beauty. The small theater might be an issue, however.

Edited by YouOverThere
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3 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

The problem with Serenade is that it's been performed so often here. Both the NYCB and Suzanne Farrell have performed it in the last few years.

If only multiple companies would perform my favorite ballets, "Liebeslieder Walzer" and "Symphony in C" in Seattle so often.

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7 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

The WB is only slightly smaller than the Colorado Ballet, and the Colorado Ballet has put on some quite credible performances of Sleeping Beauty. The small theater might be an issue, however.

Thank you - very true. CB is doing eight performances of Sleeping Beauty this October. Their production a few years ago was excellent. Classics like SB also provide a lot of opportunities for apprentices, studio company, and advanced students to fill out the "crowd" scenes, as well as academy teachers who fill out character roles.  What matters more is whether they have some principals who will not disappoint in the lead roles. Even with the much-lamented retirements a year ago of Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov, CB currently has some principals and soloists I have high expectations for next year. CB does enjoy a wonderful opera house stage and full orchestra, which make a big difference.

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The program for this year's Chamber Dance Project production mentioned that both Francesca Dugarte and Jonathan Jordan will be dancing with BalletMet in the upcoming season (Jordan's wife, Sona Kharatian, wasn't involved with the Chamber Dance Project, so I haven't heard what her status will be). This will test the WB's depth; if the WB had (public) ranks, they both would probably at least have been soloists (Jordan might have been a principal).

A few years ago, 3 dancers (including a married couple) left the Colorado Ballet for BalletMet. It doesn't seem to have worked out that well, as 2 of them only stayed with BalletMet for a year.

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I was just looking at the casting for the season-opening TWB Welcomes, which is the program (actually, 2 programs) with guest dancers Stella Abrera, Katherine Barkman, Marcelo Gomes, and Connor Walsh. With one exception, the guests are sprinkled in individually with WB dancers, the exception being the Saturday matinee when Abrera and Gomes are paired in the Seven Sonatas pas de deux.

I imagine everyone in the DC area already knows this, but traffic getting to the Kennedy Center might be a little more congested than usual during the weekend because the Memorial Bridge will be closed.

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She was a beautiful black swan today as well. She danced with Rolando Sarabia.  They were incandescent.  More on this tomorrow.  She had nuances that are worth mentioning. 

Suffice it to say though, that she could very well bring out the best in her partners.   She and Rolando were both wonderful, and they weren't even the ones I came to see.  It was a lovely surprise....all around.  this is such a wonderful company  of dancers, 

Will fill in the blanks tomorrow. 


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My (as usual unsophisticated) impressions after attending both TWB Welcomes programs (the 2nd performance of each):

- Stella Abrera is a goddess.

- Katherine Barkman and Rolando Sarabia danced the black swan pas de deux like they were experienced partners. Hopefully, Sarabia can manage to stay healthy, because on those few times that I've seen him dance he has been very, very good (IMH, and possibly incorrect, O, clearly the best male in the WB).

- Maki Onuki was very good in Serenade, worthy of dancing with Marcelo Gomes. The other 2 prominent women, Brittany Stone and Kateryna Derechyna, were solid, but the lack of depth, with Francesca Dugarte and Venus Villa having left, showed a bit.

- EunWon Lee seemed uncharacteristically tentative in the black swan pas de deux, dancing below the level that she has shown in the past, to the point where she alternated on the first 16 fouettes before gaining confidence and going all in on the last 16.

- Andile Ndlovu was dynamic (and great fun) in his turn in Tarantella (and he wasn't even originally scheduled to dance it).

- There were some puzzling pairings, in particular Stella Abrera and Tamas Krizsa seemed poorly matched in a pas de deux from Seven Sonatas. Eunwon Lee, who is tall for a female dancer, was paired with Connor Walsh, who is not tall for a male dancer. Katherine Barkman, who is a principal dancer, was paired in Tarantella with a member of the studio company (Alexandros Poppajohn, who showed that he was capable of handling the role - I wonder why he hasn't been promoted).

- Attendance hasn't been great. I was able to purchase $25 tickets the day of the performance for both shows. The balcony has been mostly empty.

- Will we ever see Stella Abrera and Marcelo Gomes paired again?


Edited by YouOverThere
fixed typo
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I saw the matinee yesterday and the Seven Sonatas PDD was the highlight for me.  Stella and Marcelo were absolutely amazing today, especially Stella.  So much emotion and chemistry.

I also loved Andile Ndlovu in Tarantella.  So musical!  I was slightly less impressed with Graniero who I felt at times was a bit behind the music.  Except her turns, which are blazing fast.

i thought Barkman was good, and she improved as the PDD progressed but I thought she lacked the sharpness of attack I prefer in my Odile.  In the beginning, I kept thinking maybe I’d prefer her as Odette, because she has such smoothness to her movement.  The audience loved her though, they received a resounding ovation.

As I’m new to the DC area, this is my first experience with the Washington Ballet.  I enjoyed the day and am looking forward to supporting the company.

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I attended the Saturday Matinee performance of TWB Welcomes.  It's been a hectic few days for me so I'm a little late with my comments. 

Les Sylphides:  The standouts here were Ayano Kimura and Tamako Miyazaki.  This is my second time seeing Ayano dance and she does not disappoint. She is also lovely off stage.  My husband and I saw her and Tamako in the lobby afterward and gave them a mini round of applause. They were lovely and gracious.   Gian Carlo Perez was the male lead, and I really like him, but I feel like he didn't have enough dancing to do.  This is also my second time seeing him dance and both times I have felt like I would like to have seen more of him.

Tarantella:  This was danced by Nichole Graniero and Andile Ndlovu.  I was pleasantly surprised with Nichole's performance. I've seen her in supporting roles only and really wasn't expecting much.   The last time I saw this PDD the female lead was Jeanette Delgado with MCB.    I knew there would be no topping that performance so I came to this with  low expectations, but ended up enjoying Nichole after all.  Now,  Andile is really something else.  This is the second time I've seen him dance and he's blown me away both times. He is really buoyant and generally  magnificent.   I would love to see more of him as well.

PDD from Seven Sonatas: Okay, so the dancers were Stella Abrera and Marcelo Gomes.  I could just stop there, because simply the mention of those two suggests greatness.  And, they were.  Stella, Stella, Stella!  She was beautiful and absolutely incandescent.  There were some folks talking on the ABT thread and suggesting that her technique might diminished; not in this PDD, that's for sure.  Just outstanding! Marcelo...how wonderful to see him and he was, of course, magnificent!  One of the reasons I took a chance on this mixed bill was that I guessed that Julie Kent would invite Marcelo.  I purchased the tickets on a leap of faith, without having any idea that I would see him dance with Stella as his partner, no less. Such good luck I had.   Pure Heaven. Thank you Julie!!!!! 

Swan Lake PDD:  The dancers were Katherine Barkman and Rolando Sarabia.  I made brief mention of Katherine's performance in an earlier post.  I liked her and her partnership with Rolando seemed natural.  I enjoyed the way she looked at the audience as if toying with us. At one or two points I thought she might falter, but then she flashed a smile as if to say:"Ha ha!  You though I was gonna falter, but I didn't!"  Rolando was really on fire.  I was so happy to see him in a lead roll.  He wash sharp, princely, flashy and glowing.  I think the audience actually enjoyed this PDD the most.  It got the biggest reaction. I believe this partnership could be a really good  one. 

Finally, Sombrerisimo:  This was a flashy piece danced by six men: Javier Morera, Oscar Sanchez, Alexandros Pappajohn, Stephen Nakagawa, Alex Kramer and I believe, Daniel Roberge.  He was a last minute substitute and he was great. They all were.  I didn't expect to like this piece because I love ballerinas in pointe shoes, but the guys looked like they were having a great time and they made it fun.

All in all a great afternoon of ballet, as always, from TWB.  Thank you to all of the performers for dancing your hearts and souls out! This is the feeling I always come away with after seeing TWB perform. 




Edited by theo
Edited to reference the correct Delgado Sister.
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I mistakenly identified Alexandros Poppajohn as a member of the studio company when he actually is an apprentice. I saw him again in the Sunday evening finale, and he clearly showed that he should be a full member of a ballet company. But the WB is only carrying 9 men as full members  (as opposed to 15 women - 16 if Katherine Barkman is added).

This leads to the question of whether the roster was configured due to the slate of woman-dominated ballets (Serenade, Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty) on the schedule or whether programming decisions were influenced by the larger number of women. 

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