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Don Quixote Spring 2018


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Thanks for all these clips! Great fun - almost as much fun as comparing clips of torch lifts!

Let me ask a silly question about that leap: I attended a pre-performance talk about the full-length Don Q several years ago (I won't name the city, but it was not Denver or New York). The otherwise distinguished dance historian presenter pointed to that leap and called it the Kitri leap. I didn't want to be TOO obnoxious, so I waited through several questions and then asked: I thought that was called the Plisetskaya leap, after the dancer who made it famous. Oh, no, I was told - that was in the original Petipa choreography and is always called the Kitri leap. I can understand preferring to call it "the Kitri leap." Okay. But first, I don't think we really know what the original choreography was, do we? Wasn't that choreographed long before there was a plausible form of notation at the Mariinsky? Second, is there evidence that this leap was done pre-Plisetskaya, which might exist?

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Here is a video of the "Kitri jump" over time. Seems it was always a big grande jeté but the Plisetskaya head kick was like the touching of the nose in second movement of Symphony in C. One move given an extreme accent.

 

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It's this move at 0:44:

 

Years later Allegra Kent refilmed this ballet. At 3:00 you see how she brings her neck all the way down in the arabesque penchée. I think Suzanne Farrell started it. Now almost all the ballerinas who dance Symphony in C second movement do that more extreme penchée. It's the same move, but as I said, a more extreme accent.

 

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First intermission: Lane, gorgeous! High exquisite grand jetes, lovely, natural acting. She and Cornejo are so great together!! Her Plisetskaya jumps were not as “split” as some others, but still very good. Forster replaced Hammoudi as Espada, and wow is he “on”! Abrera a fiery Mercedes. She would have made a terrific Kitri years ago.

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Second intermission: Lane a dream in the Dream sequence. Held some balances really long; expansive dancing. Hops on pointe were easy, fluid, traveled the entire diagnoal. I was wrong - she's a more natural Kitri than I imagined she’d be (she’s very funny too). Trenary was grand, regal as Queen of the Dryads, though her upper body not as lush as I would have liked. Cornejo, so charming and though he doesn’t have the pyrotechnics like Simkin, his dancing is still amazing. He and Lane have the best partnership at ABT right now; so much chemistry and passion. Cupid was a well-danced, adorable, spritely Richardson. 

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45 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

First intermission: Lane, gorgeous! High exquisite grand jetes, lovely, natural acting. She and Cornejo are so great together!! Her Plisetskaya jumps were not as “split” as some others, but still very good. Forster replaced Hammoudi as Espada, and wow is he “on”! Abrera a fiery Mercedes. She would have made a terrific Kitri years ago.

I’m LOVING Forster as Espada. He may be my favorite in the role since Gomes. 

I agree that Lane and Cornejo were very good in Act I with the exception of one very wonky supported pirouette. I thought Lane was even better in the Vision Scene. Her variation was even more beautiful than in those Instagram videos and it got the biggest ovation of the performance so far. Trenary is a very glamorous QotD, with great jetes. She got through the Italian fouettés just fine, though perhaps they looked less fluid than those of other dancers (but I guess there is no one at ABT who knocks them out of the park these days).

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What a performance by Lane and Cornejo!! Lane had absolutely no problem with her fouettes alternating singles and doubles with her hand over her head with a fan ending with a quad turn. Cornejo was on fire today as well. He was the only Basilio this week who let go of both of his hands after the fishdive in the grand pas. Despite her excellent performance in the 3rd, for me Lane in 2nd act was the highlight. Also, out of every Kitris I've seen this week(I've seen everyone except Seo and Copeland) she was the only one who truely possessed the girlish charm required for this role. I believe her husband Ribagorda was performing as Gamache today on stage with her so perhaps that gave her even more confident for the debut. I have to go to a dinner appointment now so I hope others can elaborate more on this wonderful performance!

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Agree with alexL that Lane/Cornejo were magnificent! I was nervous for her before the fouettés, but she knocked those out without any problem! Also agree that the dream sequence was her strongest act. Lane’s acting was spot on throughout and so natural and funny. Her husband, Ribagorda, was Gamache and he’s such an excellent actor. He got lots of laughs as did Zhurbin as Lorenzo. Zhurbin is such an extraordinary dancer-actor in everything he does. Flower girls were Brandt (who did some incredible turns) and McBride (who more than held her own next to Brandt). Frenette was the only Toreador who had style and Spanish flair. A really terrific afternoon! Now, onto Murphy tonight. A double-hitter day. 

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7 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Zhurbin is such an extraordinary dancer-actor in everything he does. ... Frenette was the only Toreador who had style and Spanish flair.

Totally agree! When I saw Don Q on Tuesday, Frenette stood out with panache among a bunch of halfhearted Toreadors.

And Roman Zhurbin! Watching him on Tuesday, I had the thought that the MacArthur genius people should consider him! His ability to bring pathos and humanity to the most flat, cardboard, outdated, and unsympathetic characters imaginable, is incredible. When I started to feel sorry for the "swamp thing" in Swan Lake, and to speculate on his inner psychology and estrangement from society, I knew Zhurbin had pulled off something amazing. 

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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

I’m LOVING Forster as Espada. He may be my favorite in the role since Gomes. 

I agree that Lane and Cornejo were very good in Act I with the exception of one very wonky supported pirouette. I thought Lane was even better in the Vision Scene. Her variation was even more beautiful than in those Instagram videos and it got the biggest ovation of the performance so far. Trenary is a very glamorous QotD, with great jetes. She got through the Italian fouettés just fine, though perhaps they looked less fluid than those of other dancers (but I guess there is no one at ABT who knocks them out of the park these days).

Williams did on tues, I'd say :D Glad to hear the review! I was sorry to have not seen Forster as Espada.

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A few more thoughts between dinner and the 8pm show.

As wonderful as Lane was, she does show her nervousness (and she’s spoken about this a lot). It was quite evident in the last act. Her fouettés were terrific, but a few of her balances were very short and a bit precarious. She has control and long balances in her, we see this often, unless her nerves get the best of her. I think she needs to conquer this in order to fulfill her true potential.

Our 3 new soloists were dancing as Dream Maidens, and Hurlin had an unusually sullen expression though her dancing was excellent. I wanted to shout “honey, you just got promoted, smile!” Fang was ok, but as before I saw nothing special there. She doesn’t shine, as others have noted. Her promotion befuddles me. McBride is a better candidate for soloist, even though she’s only been with the company three years.

Abrera was a gorgeous Merdedes. In certain places her decreasing flexibility was evident, but her charm, wit, and personality make up for it. If only she’d been cast as Kitri five or so years ago. What a lost opportunity. 

Shayer was a high-flying Lead Gypsy. I felt sad watching him as I think he was robbed of a much-deserved promotion. Salstein retired. They could have made room for him.

Edited by ABT Fan
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On 6/13/2018 at 7:18 PM, angelica said:

Of all the dancers this season, the one who has stood out for me has been Sarah Lane. The Saturday, June 30th, matinee performance will be her debut as Kitri, and I think she's going to knock it out of the park. And with Herman Cornejo as her partner, they comprise Team A in my eyes. Catch Cornejo now, because who knows how many more years he'll be dancing. Sarah isn't dancing Juliet this week and won't be dancing Odette/Odile either. I'm sure she'll be dancing soloist roles in SL, but I think she'll be as fresh and exciting as she always is. I wouldn't miss that performance.

My choice for DQ would also be Lane /Cornejo. Unfortunately, I can't be there.  I'm really looking forward to reading the opinions of those who saw it.  I agree with what seems to be consensus on Boylston, although I've never seen her in a lead role.  She just doesn't sing to me at all.

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An absolutely spectacular performance this afternoon by Lane and Cornejo, and the entire company as well.  Everyone was completely "on" from the moment the curtain rose in Act I, and at this performance, the entire audience was alive and excited and invested in what was happening on stage.  There was rousing applause for every single choreographic moment, every piece of business, every solo, duet, trio, etc.  The energy in the theater was electric, and it bounced back and forth between the performers and the audience.  These are the kind of shows you hope for and wait to experience.  This was by far Lane's finest debut since both of her Giselles, last year.  In Act I, as Kitri pirouttes past a line of toreadors, Lane began to turn before the musical cue, actually adding an extra turn at the start, and she continued to whirl her way down the line so quickly she seemed to fly into the wings.  Her Act II hops on point were perfection, performed with lightness and ease.  Her Act III fouettes were her usual mix of a single followed by doubles through the first musical phrase, then all singles through the second.  She traveled a little downstage, but it seemed clear to me she was in control of herself and the fouettes were gorgeous.  Her port de bras is still killer!  Cornejo and Lane have such an easy rapport, and it was a pleasure to watch them play off one another.  And did I mention those fish dives – wow! 

I really have nothing negative to say about this performance or anyone in it.  As you may have heard, Skylar Brandt, as a flower girl, performed triple pirouttes, followed by pirouettes en dedans – she is clearly pushing herself technically and becomes more astonishing each time I see her.  I loved Stella Abrera and Tom Forster as Mercedes and Espada; they were sparkling team and I hope that we see them together again next season.  Forster will be a wonderful Albrecht or Siegfried!  It was great to see this company finally looking alive and vibrant and on the same wavelength.  May it continue into next week!

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8 hours ago, laurel said:

An absolutely spectacular performance this afternoon by Lane and Cornejo, and the entire company as well.  Everyone was completely "on" from the moment the curtain rose in Act I, and at this performance, the entire audience was alive and excited and invested in what was happening on stage.  There was rousing applause for every single choreographic moment, every piece of business, every solo, duet, trio, etc.  The energy in the theater was electric, and it bounced back and forth between the performers and the audience.  These are the kind of shows you hope for and wait to experience.   

I don’t have much to add to what everyone has said about yesterday’s matinee, but the performance reminded me how crucial the energy in the house can be, as you’ve described. The company felt much more alive to me in this Don Q than in ones I’ve seen in past seasons. 

Shayer was fantastic as the lead gypsy. I’ve often thought of him as being quite short, but standing next to Cornejo, he has at least three inches or so on him. I know we’ve been talking a lot about who can partner the short women, and maybe he’s a good candidate. He doesn’t strike me as a dashing princely type, but maybe that’s just fine; I’m all for a dancer to break the mold.

And I’m glad to hear Williams executed the Italian fouettés perfectly. That step always feels like a rare treat to me. What a season she’s had, and one I could have never guessed would happen.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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Thanks to Laurel, fondoffouettes and everyone else for reviews of the Lane/Cornejo DQ.  So very sorry I missed it. Maybe we'll get a  DQ with this duo next year.  I noticed Katherine Williams in Bayadere last month and was impressed. 

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Overall, yesterday's matinee cast was better than the evening, from the principals down to the corps and purely character roles. However, Murphy was astonishing last night! The technical decline and muscling-through that I saw in her Gamzatti was not evident last night (maybe she was having an off night then?). She did not do the Plisetskaya jumps but it didn't matter. Instead, she did one amazing grand jete followed by a quick series of steps, all done with great speed and flair. From there I'll jump to her incredible and mind-blowing fouettes! She entered the stage with an attitude of "I'm going to show you all how it's done!" and did she ever! She started with doubles alternating with holding the fan above her head and then casually fanning herself. Then she kept her arms in first position doing doubles and singles until she finished with four, or was it five pirouettes? Oh, and she had the tempo sped up for the entirety of them to a lightening speed. The audience went crazy. Other than that, some of her balances were short and wobbly but the beauty of her experience and confidence lets her adjust quickly with no hint of disappointment or loss in grandeur. Technically she was in top form and untouchable. Her characterization, though, is her weak point. She cannot pull off the necessary girlish charm or innocence and her attempts at being funny or coy fell flat. The interactions with her father were not believable. 

Stearns was bland, as expected. His face held the same expression for 99% of the ballet. He danced well, without excitement or panache, but he did partner Murphy with ease. 

Shevchenko replaced Teuscher as Mercedes and QofD. She and Royal, as Espada, came charging out like they were on fire! She was technically terrific. Her very first Italian fouette was wobbly and almost got away from her but she regrouped quickly and finished the rest with ease. She was regal, gorgeous, in command, but a few times as Mercedes her face went strangely blank like she was trying to remember the choreography. But, overall she was fantastic. What a Kitri she must be. Royal held the stage with great presence and energy and fine dancing. He needs to channel that same approach for his Purple Von Rothbart. As great as those two were, Abrera and Forster were better in the matinee. Abrera's beauty, glamour and style hold the standard here, and Forster's great comic acting and flair was superior to Royal's.

K Williams and Giangeruso were the flower girls and they were beautiful. I think this was the best I've seen of Giangeruso, though her upper body weakness is still an issue. Brandt and McBride were more technically secure, and impressive, at the matinee.

Katsnelson, who hasn't had any demi or soloist roles that I'm aware of, was a wonderful and technically pristine Amour. She has gorgeous feet and legs and high split grand jetes. Very cute in this role too. Glad to see she was plucked from the "back row" for this opportunity. Shayer replaced Klein as the lead gypsy and he was again a bravado high-flying character. Agoudine replaced Hammoudi as Gamache but he was not nearly as funny as Ribagorda in the matinee. Forster as Lorenzo was a bit flat, but it's hard to compete with Zhurbin's portrayal. Lyle and Ribagorda were terrific Torreadors. Bell and Shayer showed off some impressive jumps, but they had no Spanish flair.

A great double-hitter day. 

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4 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Katsnelson, who hasn't had any demi or soloist roles that I'm aware of, was a wonderful and technically pristine Amour. She has gorgeous feet and legs and high split grand jetes. Very cute in this role too. Glad to see she was plucked from the "back row" for this opportunity. Shayer replaced Klein as the lead gypsy and he was again a bravado high-flying character. Agoudine replaced Hammoudi as Gamache but he was not nearly as funny as Ribagorda in the matinee. Forster as Lorenzo was a bit flat, but it's hard to compete with Zhurbin's portrayal. Lyle and Ribagorda were terrific Torreadors. Bell and Shayer showed off some impressive jumps, but they had no Spanish flair.

She did one of the three shades earlier this season. So she's actually had a couple of opportunities this season (and done well both times I saw her)!

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1 minute ago, aurora said:

She did one of the three shades earlier this season. So she's actually had a couple of opportunities this season (and done well both times I saw her)!

I missed that. That's great to hear!

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2 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

I don’t have much to add to what everyone has said about yesterday’s matinee, but the performance reminded me how crucial the energy in the house can be, as you’ve described. The company felt much more alive to me in this Don Q than in ones I’ve seen in past seasons. 

Shayer was fantastic as the lead gypsy. I’ve often thought of him as being quite short, but standing next to Cornejo, he has at least three inches or so on him. I know we’ve been talking a lot about who can partner the short women, and maybe he’s a good candidate. He doesn’t strike me as a dashing princely type, but maybe that’s just fine; I’m all for a dancer to break the mold.

And I’m glad to hear Williams executed the Italian fouettés perfectly. That step always feels like a rare treat to me. What a season she’s had, and one I could have never guessed would happen.

I  went to three performances and the energy in the house was very high for Boylston/Simkin and Lane/Cornejo but just not there for Shevchenko/Whiteside. A shame as Shevchenko gave a beautiful performance but to critkcets from the audience.

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