Jump to content
CTballetfan

Don Quixote Spring 2018

Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, cobweb said:

 

In my experience Boylston has always had an incredible technique, since she first burst into the corps. But, but, but... somewhere up-thread, I believe someone asked whether she has improved in things like the broken wrists, overly casual demeanor, lack of grace and refinement and, IMHO, show-offy quality. If there was an answer to that, I missed it in the rolling tide of posts. I know she has a lot of ardent fans here, so I ask this cautiously, but can anyone comment on her development in these areas?

 

6 hours ago, FauxPas said:

Boylston's port de bras depends on her coaching.  It was excellent in "Harlequinade" (Ratmansky coached her) and "Giselle" (Carla Korbes coached her).  Last night had a few noticeable broken wrists and some careless positions of the arms and hands but overall was good.  Kitri isn't Aurora or Odette - in some places you don't have to be totally classical and refined.  I admit port de bras is not one of her natural strengths but overall she is better.  Simkin I concur with everything above except that he was better as a solo dancer than a partner.  He is a little short for Boylston and one or two of the one-handed lifts nearly got away from him.  In the first one, Isabella wasn't lifted to full height, began to teeter and Simkin put her down quickly.    Daniil clearly prepared for the second one and it came off well.

I echo all the praise above for the rest of the show.  Katherine Williams danced with creamy expansiveness, technical security and a big jump as the Queen of the Dryads.  In the Act II "dream ballet", ABT also now has a corps of little "amorini" or baby cupids seemingly from the JKO School which was heartening to see.  I also must praise Gabe Stone Shayer and Isadora Loyola as the Gypsy couple.  

A very enjoyable evening and two genuine bravura performances in the leads.

This give me hope! Boylston seems to have continually put in the work since being promoted to work on their shortcomings. The qualities I really like in each of them respectively weren't enough for me to really want to see them, but based on the reports about Boylston's development and refinement as an artist/true ballerina makes me think that she is a principal I can really enjoy. Similarly can be sad of Seo as she's continued to polish her technique and performance quality

Share this post


Link to post

Today's Gia Kourlas interview in the New York Times features a conversation with Hee Seo and Sarah Lane on their debuts this week in Don Quixote.  Lane is amazingly honest about allowing her nerves to get the best of her and her struggles during this, her first season as a principal.  Both she and Hee Seo have positive feelings about the company now that the old "guest artist" policy has ended:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/arts/dance/abt-don-quixote-sarah-lane-hee-seo.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fdance&action=click&contentCollection=dance&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the link Laurel. If I land early on Friday, I'll try to catch Seo's debut. I don't think I'll make it, but I might be able to get an earlier connection. It's not the first time Lane opens up about getting very nervous for performances. I hope both ladies have a great debut.

Some more casting updates: Teuscher has now been pulled from tomorrow's matinee show. She's still on the schedule for the Saturday evening show, so I hope that means it's nothing serious and she's just preventing a bigger injury. It's double duty day for Abrera on Wednesday. She's performing Mercedes in both the matinee and evening show.

Share this post


Link to post

Another technically-astounding performance from Shevchenko today!  Both my friend and I thought she and Whiteside looked a bit tired, but she can still deliver all the technical goodies even when she's not 100%.  She had one very extended balance in retire in the Act II variation, and in the Act III fouette section she did alternating singles and doubles with the fan over her head for 16 counts and then perfectly-centered singles for the remainder.  

I thought Shevchenko and Whiteside had more chemistry than in Swan Lake, but it definitely was not as spicy as I've seen in past performances.

Whiteside's solos were fine--I feel like this role fits his personality more naturally than Siegfried--but as another friend commented, usually Don Q feels equally split between Basilio and Kitri, but today's show was definitely all about Kitri.

Katherine Williams was a gorgeous, expansive Queen of the Dryads (what a season she's having!), and Rachel Richardson was utterly adorable as Amour.

Blaine Hoven was fine as Espada, but I did not care for Zhong-Jing Fang's very over-the-top interpretation of Mercedes.

Gabe Stone-Shayer was the lead gypsy instead of Arron Scott, and his arched-back jumps were pretty spectacular.

All in all, another exciting show!

Share this post


Link to post

A pretty revealing interview with Sarah Lane and Hee Seo in the NYT today regarding their Don Q debuts. Glad Sarah decided to stick with it just a little while longer and got that promotion. Still, our assumption was correct that the company dancers resented the guest artist trend. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/arts/dance/abt-don-quixote-sarah-lane-hee-seo.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fdance&action=click&contentCollection=dance&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

Share this post


Link to post

Last night's performance was a WOW! I couldn't take my eyes off Shevchenko. In addition to her technical abilities, she displayed tremendous acting skills, from consternation to sneakiness, to pure joy, all done with just the right combination of spices and sense of humor to convey the spirit of this ballet. She exaggerated when the story called for it, e.g., hiding behind the cape; and showed happiness in her bright shining face when the story called for that, as in the wedding pas de deux. How nice to be seeing a ballerina do those 32 fouettes without counting or biting one's nails!

A few additional standouts: Katherine Williams as Queen of the Dryads; Kaho Ogawa as one of the flower girls; Nicole Graniero dancing exquisitely in the corps roles.

Someone really must take April Giangeruso under their wing and teach her to hold her torso up by her back muscles. The contrast with Kaho Ogawa (and everyone else on stage) was so obvious and mastering that could take her dancing up to the next level.

Share this post


Link to post

Last night was only my second performance of the season... a total change from past years. I agree about the excellent Shevchenko (she was why I went to this particular performance), who was fiery, with great technique, and who knows how to command the stage and engage the audience. I also agree about the airy, expansive dancing of Kaho Ogawa. I barely noticed April Giangeruso at all, since every time they were on stage my eye was glued to Ogawa. I also noticed one of the Toreadors, who showed true excellence. Not sure, but I think it was Patrick Frenette. Totally committed to toreador-ness, IMHO totally showing up the other toreadors, who looked like American guys hanging out in turquoise outfits. I also spotted young apprentice (now corps, I guess) Zimmi Coker, who several have mentioned on here. She's easy to pick out with her red hair. Didn't see her do any actual dancing, but she is a bright presence. Finally, a complaint about wandering eyes. When I saw Pa. Ballet do Swan Lake recently I was highly impressed by the corps' commitment to holding their eyes downcast. It makes a great impression of stillness and grandeur. At ABT, I often see the corps, when standing still, sneaking a look at the principals dancing. I hate to say it because she is so wonderful when dancing, but Catherine Hurlin is someone I have often noticed doing this. By contrast, fellow redhead Zimmi Coker looked blissfully disciplined and committed to her stillness. 

Share this post


Link to post

Don Quixote Wednesday evening June 27, 2018:  Copeland, Cirio, Forster, Abrera, Trenary, Richardson, Luckett

So how did Misty do?  Or more specifically what did Misty do and even more crucially - what did she NOT do???

She did well.  Quite well.  Possibly Kitri is Misty's best role in a 19th century classical ballet.  Did she do as well as Boylston, Schevchenko or Murphy this afternoon?  

No.

Did she fail? Absolutely not.

One thing that Misty has onstage is charm - she is a natural flirt onstage and has a smile that lights up the stage.  She is funny and she is warm.  Her Kitri connects with the audience, her partner Jeffrey Cirio and the other dancers.  As Kitri, she pouts, she teases and she is FUNNY.  Even that ruffled orange dress in Act I that is a color and style that works on very few women looks sensational against Misty's café au lait complexion.  

But how did she dance?  Pretty damn well. 

Act I:  What was very noticeable in her first entrée was that Copeland basically has no jump and she wasn't using her full extension in her kicks.  She was playful and fun but there was no "wow" factor in the dancing.  Misty's upper body and arms are very sensuous and her port de bras is lush and creamy.  The rest of Act I was good until the big solo with the kicks to the head and then the diagonal of multiple unsupported pirouettes with the line of toreadors waving their capes.   Misty's kicks to the back of the head barely reached over 90 degrees  and nowhere near the back of her head.  In fact it was all pretty low to the ground in general - no jump kicks.  The diagonal of pirouettes were good until the very end where she slowed down a bit.  Instead of doing a triple or quad like Isabella, Shevy or Gillian she opted to finish it with piqué turns.   The crowd went nuts anyway.  Misty is a good turner and quick turning footwork is her forte.  By now Misty seemed to have loosened up and had higher extensions. 

Cirio as Basilio not only danced with elegant lightness and virtuosity but (unlike Simkin) he is also an excellent partner.  Despite being fairly slender and of modest stature, Cirio held Misty overhead in the one-arm lift for several beats with no wobbling.  Cirio's footwork is precise and his jumps high and light.  He is a natural turner.  He will be missed.

Despite there being no slip in my program or an announcement, Tom Forster danced Espada in place of Alexandre Hammoudi who is recovering from a back injury.  (Hammoudi was also scheduled to play Gamache Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon but on both occasions was replaced by Alexei Agoudine in a very wittily acted comic turn).   Forster really swaggered and strutted and displayed a lot more panache than Calvin Royal III or Blaine Hoven.  Stella Abrera was an alluring, experienced Mercedes.  Clinton Luckett as Don Quixote had the right emaciated appearance and evoked lost grandeur with the right faraway look.  The two Flower Girls are Skylar Brandt and Betsy McBride.  McBride is delicious and seems equally matched in technique and height with Brandt - she has a bright smile and is delightful to watch.  More please.

Act II:  Misty faces her next trial by fire - the very classical Dulcinea solo with the hops on pointe in the grand pas classique of Don Quixote's Vision.  Misty doesn't pose very well in arabesque on pointe - the raised leg travels around a bit and she doesn't quite hold the pose.  However the hops on pointe in a downstage left diagonal are credible but don't travel very far.  She completes the steps without going off pointe but travels only a few feet.  Still the audience applauds her and it looks quite pretty.  The coda is somewhat dampened by her lack of any kind of grand jeté.  Cassandra Trenary is a good but not great Queen of the Dryads - her developpées lack expansion and the Italian fouettés seem to strain her but she completes them.  Trenary lacks queenly repose.  Katherine Williams did better on Tuesday night but this was still good.  Rachel Richardson is an endearing Amour with lots of quick fluttering steps that are not overdone but she too lacks a big jump.

The second scene in the tavern shows Misty acting with great timing and sense of fun.  The dancing is more character in style and Misty is very comfortable here.  Forster really bats Espada's solo with the cape out of the park and Stella is in great form too.  Cirio is doing all sorts of whiplash pirouettes and exciting turns.  They look like they are having fun.

Act III:  The big grand pas with all sorts of dangers.  First of all Brandt and Betsy McBride really nail their solo variations.  Again: more McBride solos please.  Maybe even as Amour?  The pas de deux has four balances for Kitri.  Copeland manages the first two which are similar to Aurora's Rose Adagio - a promenade in arabesque and then the male dancer stops the ballerina in profile arabesque and she raises her arms en couronne overhead.   Copeland managed to hold the pose for several seconds and the audience applauded - in the second balance she held it but started to pitch backward a fraction but Cirio took her hand quickly and righted her.  No harm done.  The next two balances have the partner revolving the ballerina facing front and he is to the side.  He raises her arm over her head facing front and she holds the pose.  These were disappointing though this is nearly always the easier balance to sustain for most ballerinas.  Misty just immediately came off pointe barely holding the balance - she needs to be more ambitious here.

Misty's solo with the fan was charmingly danced with nicely articulated pirouettes and clean footwork.  The audience loved her charm and style.

The coda:  FOUETTÉS!!!!   Misty performed the fouettés and did not swap in a chainé of piqué turns.  Did she do 32 fouettés?  Probably closer to 29 or 30 but they were solid singles with the working leg fairly close to the knee.  They traveled a bit forward and to stage left but were clean and she finished them on the music.  On the final beats, Misty kind of revolved downward into a kneeling pose brandishing her fan over her head thus avoiding the last two or three revolutions.  But it worked, it did the job, it was credible.  Osipova level?  Hell no but very professional.  (Why can't she do the same thing as Odile???) . Needless to say the crowd went wild.

Cirio's solo and coda were full of clean high jumps, crisp turns à la seconde with character bravura combined with classical form.  A very fine showing and he partnered Copeland very well.

A pretty big crowd (though not sold out) who were vocal and appreciative.  Much more so than on Tuesday night which in many ways was a better performance but the audience sat on its hands.

 

Edited by FauxPas

Share this post


Link to post

Agree with everything you said, FauxPas.  I thought Copeland and Cirio had great rapport, and it looked like they were enjoying the evening.  I will give Trenary a pass, as it was her first Dryad Queen, and from what I understand, this show has had very little rehearsal.  I would add that I hope Forster gets some more leading roles before it is too late.  In terms of the fouettés, it could be a matter of just being too tired at the end.  Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty are stressful for the ballerina.  Don Q just seems easier to handle for some reason maybe because it is faster paced?  

I know I am in the minority (no pun intended) when I say that although Misty may not be the quality everyone would like her to be, she does do an awful lot for the future of ballet.  Whether that is inspiring future ballerinas or just future ballet-goers, there is something to be said for that.  Check out this instagram and the voice.  Just adorable.

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, its the mom said:

 I will give Trenary a pass, as it was her first Dryad Queen, and from what I understand, this show has had very little rehearsal..

It wasn't actually! As Devon Teuscher didn't do the weds. matinee, they announced Mercedes/Queen of the Dryads would be split between  Stella and Cassie.

In the matinee she was good, although the last italian fouette seemed a bit wonky--almost as if she thought she had reached the end and realized she had one more to go (it wasn't a bad mistake just looked a bit effortful).

The matinee, by the way, was amazing!!

To anyone concerned Gillian's technique is declining, or that she is plagued by injuries now (after the concerning spell of a year or so ago)--she was magnificent. I thought Shevchenko's fouettes on Tues were nearly untoppable, well Murphy's did. Multiples where she alternated the  fan above head with fanning her chest, then some singles which by the end of, she started calmly fanning herself again. All on the music. The rest of the performance was great as well!

She's doing it again Saturday night....

Share this post


Link to post
On 6/27/2018 at 12:00 PM, cobweb said:

I also spotted young apprentice (now corps, I guess) Zimmi Coker, who several have mentioned on here. She's easy to pick out with her red hair. Didn't see her do any actual dancing, but she is a bright presence. 

I noticed Coker in Swan Lake and had read several comments about her in La Bayadere. In SL she was in front stage right. She was solid in her technique, beautiful arms, nice feet. I believe she was promoted to the Corps this month. She’s one to watch methinks!

Share this post


Link to post

Teuscher BTW was scheduled to do both Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads.  Fang and Abrera only are doing Mercedes (though Abrera used to dance the Dryad Queen).  Besides Hammoudi, Jonathan Klein was replaced as the Gypsy Boy in the matinee - Gabe Stone Shayer has danced all the "Don Quixote" performances in that role so far - mostly with Isadora Loyola as the Gypsy Girl but once with Betsy McBride.   So Klein is definitely on the injured list and that is why he is out of the "Whipped Cream" shows next week.  In the Tuesday night performance Stone Shayer was replacing Arron Scott who is Klein's replacement as the Boy in "Whipped Cream" but Scott is miming the role of Sancho Panza at least.  Also MIA all this season is Zhiyao Zhang who has danced the Gypsy Boy previously and very impressively (he has also been the Bronze Idol in "Bayadere" and Benno in "Swan Lake" also impressively).  Meanwhile, Joseph Gorak isn't dancing anything at all in "Don Quixote" from what I can see.

Edited by FauxPas

Share this post


Link to post
29 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

  Also MIA all this season is Zhiyao Zhang who has danced the Gypsy Boy previously and very impressively (he has also been the Bronze Idol in "Bayadere" and Benno in "Swan Lake" also impressively). 

He is injured.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, aurora said:

It wasn't actually! As Devon Teuscher didn't do the weds. matinee, they announced Mercedes/Queen of the Dryads would be split between  Stella and Cassie.

In the matinee she was good, although the last italian fouette seemed a bit wonky--almost as if she thought she had reached the end and realized she had one more to go (it wasn't a bad mistake just looked a bit effortful).

The matinee, by the way, was amazing!!

To anyone concerned Gillian's technique is declining, or that she is plagued by injuries now (after the concerning spell of a year or so ago)--she was magnificent. I thought Shevchenko's fouettes on Tues were nearly untoppable, well Murphy's did. Multiples where she alternated the  fan above head with fanning her chest, then some singles which by the end of, she started calmly fanning herself again. All on the music. The rest of the performance was great as well!

She's doing it again Saturday night....

I 100% agree regarding Murphy. I was nervous going into the ballet but she proved me wrong! The only nervous moment for me was during the Kitri variation in the 1st act after she finished her last Plisetskaya jump. The jumps were good it's just her carriage looked a little odd afterwards(not sure how to describe this but if you've suffered a back injury before you know how it looks...) so I hoped she didn't injure her back while performing them. Thankfully she looked fresh for the rest of the performance. When she continued to fan in her singles everyone went nuts! What a performance. 

Trenery's mistake on the last Italian fouette was quite noticeable from my angle. She nearly fell out of her arabesque and barely went back up on pointe. The first half of the variation was lovely though. 

Watching Abrera in Mercedes makes me sad. She could've been an excellent Kitri had she been cast in the role 5 years ago. I saw her Mercedes on Monday's performance as well and she had way more stage presence than Boylston. I'm seeing Simkin/Boylston again tonight as he won't be in NY full time next year. Also I thought his performance felt somewhat underwhelming for his usual standard.(I've been his fan since his first competition in Japan when he was a baby!) Hopefully he was saving his energy for tonight's performance!

Edited by alexL

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for these reports. It is enjoyable to read some excited responses to ABT this season. I remember Van Hamel completely eschewing the leap with the leg kick to back of head when I saw her Kitri and it didn’t garner complaints (though that was pre-internet, so who knows) — maybe a ballerina with back problems could afford to do the leap without that touch.

(A side note regarding “Osipova level” fouettes:  this month even Osipova isn’t doing them. In Swan Lake with the Royal ballet she opted for a manege of pique and chaine turns in place of fouettes. Nothing in her performance —the one I saw— suggested injury, though at a public event concerning the production that I did not attend, it was apparently implied that that was the reason.)

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Drew said:

Thanks for these reports. It is enjoyable to read some excited responses to ABT this season. I remember Van Hamel completely eschewing the leap with the leg kick to back of head when I saw her Kitri and it didn’t garner complaints (though that was pre-internet, so who knows) — maybe a ballerina with back problems could afford to do the leap without that touch.

(A side note regarding “Osipova level” fouettes:  this month even Osipova isn’t doing them. In Swan Lake with the Royal ballet she opted for a manege of pique and chaine turns in place of fouettes. Nothing in her performance —the one I saw— suggested injury, though at a public event concerning the production that I did not attend, it was apparently implied that that was the reason.)

It's not unusual to see people skip the Plisetskaya jump. The Cubans didn't do it last month (if they tried, it wasn't successful). The DVD of Cynthia Harvey with Baryshnikov from long ago doesn't include it.

Funny to hear about Osipova using the alternate version from that 1967 clip I posted yesterday. I wonder if that's standard for the Russians when they can't do the fouettes for whatever reason. 

Edited by California
correct Cynthia Harvey's name: sorry!

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, California said:

It's not unusual to see people skip the Plisetskaya jump. The Cubans didn't do it last month (if they tried, it wasn't successful). The DVD of Cynthia Gregory with Baryshnikov from long ago doesn't include it.

Funny to hear about Osipova using the alternate version from that 1967 clip I posted yesterday. I wonder if that's standard for the Russians when they can't do the fouettes for whatever reason. 

Cynthia Harvey.

 

I love her dream variation--they don't do the penchees in the current production

Edited by aurora

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, aurora said:

Cynthia Harvey.

 

I love her dream variation--they don't do the penchees in the current production

Yes ,  That was a wonderful variation. It was Barysnikov's staging of DQ . Maybe, that's the reason it was changed. It looks like a more difficult variation.

 

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

I'm baffled by the assertion that Cynthia Harvey didn't do the "Plisetskaya jumps" on video.

 

I suppose there's disagreement about what counts as the "Plisteskaya" jump. She goes straight up in the air and does touch (or come close).  That's impressive and I guess it counts. The more impressive one you don't see so much is seriously airborne, with right leg stabbing forward while bending back. But I don't want to get into an argument over this. My point was just that it's not always included and that doesn't seem to bother audiences. 

Share this post


Link to post

The castanet variation is very fast, and sissonne jumps don't travel through space. I never saw it live, but it seems to me that even Plisetskaya's right leg didn't jut forward that far.

Laurencia is a completely different story, because the music is much slower, and it's a split jump that travels through space. Even here I'd say that Plisetslaya emphasized the backbend more than the leg extended forward.

The last person I saw do this variation was Ekaterina Krysanova, and she extended her leg more horizontally to the floor, but at the expense of the backbend.

My vantage point was different, but I found Krysanova's performance disappointing. I guess the backbend is really more important in this variation. In any case, she didn't efface memories of the Plisetskaya footage.

Regardless, it's a fundamentally different jump.

Edited by volcanohunter

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

The castanet variation is very fast, and sissonne jumps don't travel through space. I never saw it live, but it seems to me that even Plisetskaya's right leg didn't jut forward that far. ...

Laurencia is a completely different story, because the music is much slower, and it's a split jump that travels through space. Even here I'd say that Plisetslaya emphasized the backbend more than the leg extended forward. ...

The last person I saw do this variation was Ekaterina Krysanova, and she extended her leg more horizontally to the floor, but at the expense of the backbend. ...

My vantage point was different, but I found Krysanova's performance disappointing. I guess the backbend is really more important in this variation. In any case, she didn't efface memories of the Plisetskaya footage.

Regardless, it's a fundamentally different jump.

Thanks for the clips. I suppose I've had unrealistic expectations about both leg extension and backbend in the same jump. 

Share this post


Link to post

Here are a bunch more for comparison (including a different Plisetskaya clip, at 8:26 on the second video):

 

Edited by nanushka

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...