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La Bayadere -- Los Angeles 2018


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31 minutes ago, Dreamer said:

I saw Marcelo Gomes dancing La Bayadere with VIshneva in the 2014 Met season. 

Interesting. I have not yet seen the Gomes film, but several years ago I saw the rough cut from the filmmakers, which they put on-line for just a few days for donors to the project. That's where he gave the quote on this being his last performance, but it's  possible that was cut from the final film. Presumably, Vishneva talked him into one more season!

PS: Still waiting for my own copy of the film, which was promised to donors over a certain level. I gather they postponed this perk until after they had exploited the potential for theater showings.

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I’ve been thinking about Christine Shevchenko’s remarkable performance a lot and have yet not been able to put it into words. What I can say is that when I think of her I think of outstanding ‘expressionists’ such as the Bolshoi’s Olga Smirnova.

One challenge with such ability is to keep it in context. In this instance I feel that Devon Teuscher did a very fine job in carrying her weight in light of the exceptional talent of her fellow artist. I can maybe get into this more at another time.  Devon Teuscher gave an extremely fine performance.

I will say once again that I think that Christine Shevchenko is absolutely brilliant and should have a remarkable future. I hope that they both have much success.

 

 

Edited by Buddy
last sentence added
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1 hour ago, Buddy said:

I’ve been thinking about Christine Shevchenko’s remarkable performance a lot and have yet not been able to put it into words.

 

Watching Christine Shevchenko made me think of a young Maria Alexandrova. Shevchenko has similar quality of drawing all the attention to her character and displaying a commanding stage presence.  She is becoming an artist whom I would travel a distance to watch. 

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I was there Sunday and it was a packed house. I concur with Buddy-Shevchenko was absolutely beautiful!  She has this presence and commanded that stage like no other. I was enthralled. ABT has a special artist here.  Devon was gorgeous.  Joo Won shows promise. I hope he gets promoted in the near future.  Another standout was Skylar Brandt as the 1st Shade. She made that variation look like a walk in the park . The audience roared after she finished. What an exciting afternoon! ABT needs to tour more in LA. It was evident with the 3 sold out shows they are loved out here. 

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9 hours ago, Dreamer said:

 

Watching Christine Shevchenko made me think of a young Maria Alexandrova. Shevchenko has similar quality of drawing all the attention to her character and displaying a commanding stage presence.  She is becoming an artist whom I would travel a distance to watch. 

I feel the same way, Dreamer. There are a handful of ballet artists that excite me enough that I would make special trips or reroute existing ones to see. For the moment some of these would be the Bolshoi’s Olga Smirnova and very young Alyona Kovalyova and former ABT ballerinas Veronika Part (New Zealand Royal Ballet) and Simone Messmer (Miami City Ballet). Of this group I would most closely relate Olga Smirnova and Simone Messmer to Christine Shevchenko. In regard to comparably outstanding Gamzatti performances I would chose that of Simone Messmer and now add Gillian Murphy’s.

Thanks also, Josette and Mombink, for your enthusiastic thoughts, which I agree with completely. What could I try to add ?

First, I must say that she has to be seen.

I find her to be fascinating as well as extremely talented. Her portrayals (yes, plural) were of the highest theatrical standard. She would probably have an outstanding career as an actress. But this is ballet and her ability to infuse this into the highest standards of artistic dance makes it all the more special.

When I say “portrayals,” plural, I mean that she creates a multidimensional character. There is nothing simple at all about her Gamzatti. She’s complex and, even more, she’s constantly changing because of what she’s confronted with. The choices that Christine Shevchenko makes are fascinating, at times highly individual, yet completely consistent with the storyline. She can make these choices swiftly, multidirectionally and definitively, which adds wonderful excitement. In addition, she at times seems to create her own situations and realities with interpretations that I’ve not seen before which are totally believable and appropriate. And, as I’ve mentioned, she can express this through pure motion as well as I’ve ever seen.

I could go on and on.

She’s Remarkable !

For a moment, I would like to get back to Devon Teuscher’s very fine performance as Nikiya. What she did would stand very well on its own. Yet, here she was in the company of an artistic ‘megaforce,’ Christine Shevchenko, and she’s supposed to be, more or less, the star. So how not to get overwhelmed ?  She did this by being herself. She didn’t need or attempt to compensate. Her portrayal was compelling and sympathetic. Her dancing was lovely and like Gillian Murphy she showed that she was also capable of considerable dance prowess as she shot across the stage with a final series of speed of light turns.

Above all, her own artistic surety, honesty and inner soulfulness made her well worthy of her place on this stage.    

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It's great to hear all these glowing reports of Shevchenko. Up until last season, it was clear she was gifted technically, based on her Kitri and Medora, but this year she's really shown what a great artist she is. I was very impressed with the depth of her characterization as O/O but sadly missed her Gamzatti during the Met season. Maybe she should be given a go at Juliet, in addition to Lane, of course. 

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I am interested that no one has mentioned the partnering issues during Sunday's performance.  

 Joo Won Ahn paddled Devon Teuscher one too many turns when she does the supported en dehors pirouette to attitude derriere downstage right, which is something we see on occasion. But, inthe sequence which has Nikiya's  boureeing and then doing a slow developpe a la seconde and then an adagio fouette into arabesque after her partner positions himself in a lunge with Nikiya behind him, Joo Won Ahn pulled her off balance so that Devon's weight went backwards and she had to bring her leg down from a la seconde to save herself, and this as well happened and was worse  the second time this combination occurred; it was distressing to see because this is a slow, controlled adagio movement and Devon was helpless due to her partner, who was oblivious to the fact that he had pulled her weight back. In the second pas de deux, with the pirouette in attitude started by Nikiya on her own and then grabbed by Solor,  the second of the pirouettes in attitude by Nikiya from a lunge position where she does a grand port de bras and a pas de bouree into the pirouette in attitude derriere - she had to do a releve to adjust balance because her partner had her off balance.  Devon has no problems with turns such that it was disconcerting to watch. These were the obvious problems. 

In the last act, Joo Won Ahn managed to pull Shevchenko off balance in a  basic supported pirouette en dehors - she was pulled back at an unwieldly angle with her weight back while he was paddling her, and she had to do a releve in passe to get upright and on her leg.  Right after this, Gamzatti goes to her father on stage left, in this case, Alex Hammoudi, who supports her in the same en dehors pirouette and there was no issue and no paddling.      

As much as I think it's nice for dancers to be given lead roles at a young age, it was unfair to Devon  to have to deal with this.  

I very much enjoyed Devon in the first act. She danced beautifully, her arms were particularly expressive, and there was a characterization going on.  During the previous performance, I did not feel that that Hee Sao created a distinctive human being, though I loved her fastidious lyrical grace and  exquisite line during the Shades scene.  Gillian Murphy was, thankfully and predictably, perfectly wonderful and there was a real person on stage as well her seemingly effortless brilliance as ballerina.  

Christine Shevchenko bowled me over.  I could not take my eyes off her.  What a stunning ballerina she is - I can't wait to see more of her.   But both performances were unusual because each Gamzatti had a much stronger characterization and impact than the respective Nikiya - until this weekend,  I would never have thought this possible.   

As far as the Shades soloists, Skylar Brandt was amazing in the first solo as well as in the sections with the corps de ballet- her phrasing was  a marvel.  And Catherine Hurlin was very beautiful in the Saturday night cast, dancing the third variation.  

 

 

 

Edited by Josette
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Ahn is not that young, not like Bell.  He is probably in the 24-25 year old range.  Having said that, I was surprised he was given the Solor role after seeing his Corsaire last year.  But because he is tall, McKenzie will probably bring him along to partner Devon and Christine.  

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To the added and appreciated comments above I’d like to add a few more of my own about what I feel was an outstanding weekend of performances .

Gillian Murphy is probably as noteworthy for her dance prowess and she is for her artistry. Her artistry seems to get better and better. I mentioned that the difference between her and Hee Seo is that she has a developed artistry whereas Hee Seo is more about inner poetry. I still feel that this is true, but Gillian Murphy also has a fine inner resource that I’ve noticed over the years in six or so of her Swan Lakes. I’ve watched her grow with them. Her White Swan is from a fairytale world of enchanted princesses. I love it. She has a mixture of Pre-Raphaelite beauty and teenage wholesomeness that is very embracing. Her Black Swan has varied in subtlety, but generally has had an artistic dimension that works well for me. Her current Gamzatti shows her artistry as well as I’ve ever seen it. It has wonderful dimension and quality.

Hee Seo, for me, is about compelling subtlety. She has a fineness in her interest of character. And it seems so natural. I think that her dancing is lovely, both in its pure motion and in its expression. She radiates poetry.

Devon Teuscher, I've mentioned in my previous post. I thought that she gave a very fine and highly commendable performance.

Isabella Boylston probably impressed me the most with her sculptural expression. In the Shades scarf dance her backward extended leg had a beautifully turned and formed line. I noticed this shape in all the scarf dancers, but her’s was particularly lovely. Her palace dance had very fine sculptural drama.

Misty Copeland also showed some very fine dance articulation. It had character and beauty. She created some lines and sequences that had real interest and drama. This seemed to be her strength and should perhaps be what she emphasizes the most for the moment.

The ‘Ballet Chorus’ I would like to say again was outstanding. There is something about the ABT style that shows up best here. It’s that mixture of energy and grace, somewhere between ‘Russian lyricism’ and George Balanchine, perhaps. It’s not the same delicacy that I love so much in Russian ballet, but it’s equally beautiful in many ways and has a definite interest and uplifting quality.

In this regard I also noticed the hands. They are very apparent and have a great deal of character. It’s a loser form of expression than I’m used to but very effective and beautiful in its own way.

The men selflessly made it possible for the women to shine. Jeffrey Cirio had fine, flowing motion, Cory Stearns did very good partnering and Joo Won Ahn had a graceful athleticism.

And as usual there was much more. For instance, every now and then, someone in the ‘Chorus’ would really stand out because of her loveliness. Then there’s the Golden Idol and on and on.

But never to be forgotten — Christine Shevchenko.  For me, she carries on the aura of Veronika Part and Simone Messmer that I prize so highly. But she’s certainly her own person. What she does she does in her own special way with its own special beauty. I look forward to seeing her perform as much as I possibly can.

All and all, an extremely fine weekend of performances.

 

Edited by Buddy
typo correction and Devon Teuscher remarks added
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On 7/13/2018 at 12:29 PM, fondoffouettes said:

 

Copeland being cast as Gamzatti has always been a head-scratcher for me. (And she's been dancing it for years, even before she became famous.) Her jump is barely there, and she struggles with both types of fouettes. 

 

I saw one of her Gamzattis years ago with no other than Ivan Vasiliev. The whole of the betrothal scene-( which have some mirror jumping for both characters)- was an embarrassing affair for her.

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10 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

I saw one of her Gamzattis years ago with no other than Ivan Vasiliev. The whole of the betrothal scene-( which have some mirror jumping for both characters)- was an embarrassing affair for her.

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/arts/dance/american-ballet-theaters-production-of-la-bayadere.html

Here is the Times review with a fascinating photo of Vasiliev and Copeland.  Every  picture tells a story.

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2 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

I saw one of her Gamzattis years ago with no other than Ivan Vasiliev. The whole of the betrothal scene-( which have some mirror jumping for both characters)- was an embarrassing affair for her.

In my case it was opposite Alina Cojocaru and Herman Cornejo, dancers as airborne as they come. This was height-compatible casting, but it did Copeland absolutely no favors, since she looked earthbound and leaden in comparison.

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I’ve only seen Misty Copeland in one major role and that was last Friday. My feeling then, which I briefly tried to express here, was that within a certain range she seemed quite fine. She had a manner of expression in line and drama of motion that I thought was very effective. I felt that if she could elaborate or build from this that she could be very impressive.

Edited by Buddy
grammar correction
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Hee Seo seems to do this to me. A week after the performance and she’s a memory that lingers as much as any. I’m not even sure how real it is. But does it matter? It may largely be sentimental aura, but it’s real enough.

Probably, if she hadn’t shared the stage with Gillian Murphy’s exceptional Gamzatti and appeared a day before Christine Shevchenko’s incredible revelation, she would have registered much stronger. As I’ve mentioned, I feel that subtlety and poetry are what she’s about.

I’ve seen many Nikiyas. Recently, Olga Smirnova’s was the most amazing and Oxana Skorik’s  (from video clips) the most beautiful. Yet Hee Seo is about poetry and a certain loveliness. The closest Nikiyas that I’ve seen would be those of Paris Opera’s Myriam Ould-Braham and the Bolshoi’s Anna Nikulina, both so sensitively lovely.

She also has that wonderful fusion of dance and theater. Her dance, besides being very lovely, can often dramatically enhance her theatrical statement. And her theatrical choices can be quite compelling.

Hee Seo wasn’t invited to two Mariinsky Festivals for nothing, where she effected me in the same way. I look forward to seeing her again as I feel that she’s rather special.

 

Edited by Buddy
grammar correction
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