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2018 Nutcracker - Costa Mesa

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Also bought tickets specifically to see Shevchenko. Two new casts for me now (if the casting fairy stays kind)!

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Late report, but I went to the Saturday matinee with Sarah Lane and Joseph Gorak. Overall a decent outing from everyone, though seeming a bit low energy at times (even the cannon which couldn't be bothered to descend from the clock to blast the mice). Luciana Paris and Garegin Pogossian were Columbine and Harlequinade, perhaps a debut? I don't know who Pogossian is, but perhaps Paris has danced it previously and I've missed it. Courtney Lavine was the Nanny/Sugarplum and she is quite delightful in the role, though it's sad to see her not dancing (Luis Ribagorda as Butler/Majordomo).

I thought Lane and Gorak were nicely matched in the Snow scene, but there was some definite uncertainty in the Act 2 pdd. She got twisted up at the end and they didn't hit their finishing pose; well they hit a pose but not one I have seen before. The torch lift was not attempted; instead, they did something akin to the lifts at the end of the Manon bedroom pdd (https://youtu.be/pyAdb6xTel8?t=260 see here for what I mean).  They did this lift and then he walked with her downstage as with the regular torch lift. He was better in his solo variation. I thought Lane was nice, but not at her finest, probably because of the partnering worries.

After several years of this production, I have to get this off my chest (maybe I have before): the costumes for Snow and Waltz make everyone look huge in the midsection. It's really sad and the costume designer and fitters should be shamed. There are a lot of busty ladies in the corps at ABT, I do note, but it's really not fair to them to look entirely square while dancing, especially in Waltz, though the diagonal shoulder strap situation in Snow is also unflattering to the majority of dancers.

If anyone is curious about any other casting info, please ask.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ksk04 said:

Late report, but I went to the Saturday matinee with Sarah Lane and Joseph Gorak. Overall a decent outing from everyone, though seeming a bit low energy at times (even the cannon which couldn't be bothered to descend from the clock to blast the mice). Luciana Paris and Garegin Pogossian were Columbine and Harlequinade, perhaps a debut? I don't know who Pogossian is, but perhaps Paris has danced it previously and I've missed it. Courtney Lavine was the Nanny/Sugarplum and she is quite delightful in the role, though it's sad to see her not dancing (Luis Ribagorda as Butler/Majordomo).

I thought Lane and Gorak were nicely matched in the Snow scene, but there was some definite uncertainty in the Act 2 pdd. She got twisted up at the end and they didn't hit their finishing pose; well they hit a pose but not one I have seen before. The torch lift was not attempted; instead, they did something akin to the lifts at the end of the Manon bedroom pdd (https://youtu.be/pyAdb6xTel8?t=260 see here for what I mean).  They did this lift and then he walked with her downstage as with the regular torch lift. He was better in his solo variation. I thought Lane was nice, but not at her finest, probably because of the partnering worries.

I saw on Lane's Instagram that Gorak was replacing Hoven (but it was never updated on the company's site). I'm sure that's because Hoven was needed to replace Cornejo with Copeland (and how could he do five performances?). Gorak has done this role before, but not in a few years and he may not have had much rehearsal time. Even so, based on other's reports it seems that he always had trouble with the partnering and the torch lift, which may be why he was taken out of this role (except now, being needed as a sub). 

Who did Chinese and how were they?

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Some other casting:

Recruit / Canteen Keeper: Frenette / Hurlin

Spanish: Loyola/Forster, Williams/Sumitani, Degrofft/McCune

Arabian: Calvin Royal (never seen him do this before), and Boren/Davison/Lall/Post

Chinese: Trenary and Scott. ABT Fan, I have seen them do this several times and find them charming enough but nothing more. The first time I saw Teuscher do the role, I thought she was incredibly virtuosic and made the most of it, but not really anyone since then.

Russians: Lyle/Vendt/Zhurbin

Sisters: Basmagy, Brandt, Giangeruso, Hamrick, McBride. Skylar Brandt was really wonderful, leagues above the rest of the women in epaulement and control in the tricky turning sequences.

Mother Ginger: Tyler Maloney (little understated)

 

 

Also yes, I expected as much from Gorak based on those same older reports, ABT Fan. He has a lovely fifth position (and feet!) though that he hits all the time in his solo work!

Edited by ksk04

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53 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

 Gorak has done this role before, but not in a few years and he may not have had much rehearsal time. Even so, based on other's reports it seems that he always had trouble with the partnering and the torch lift, which may be why he was taken out of this role (except now, being needed as a sub). 

I saw a friends' rehearsal on December 11, 2015 at Segerstrom of Act II. It was supposed to have Gorak and Boylston, with everybody in full costume. Abruptly, Gorak disappeared and Stearns in practice clothes suddenly appeared to partner Boylston. No explanation. Rumors about the difficult choreography and possible injury, but Gorak appeared in lesser roles that weekend, so who knows. Has anybody ever seen Gorak do the original choreography? That substitution with Lane might be all he can handle.

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