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ABT 2019 Le Corsaire

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10 minutes ago, Needlepoints said:

I saw this cast, but I have no technical background so can’t say anything other than I enjoyed it.  I thought both Teuscher and Williams were great.  The bedroom pas at the end of Act 2 (Teuscher and Stearns) was gorgeous; it was my favorite between  Brandt/Mack, Teuscher/Stearns, and Shevchenko/Mack.

Great to hear. I can imagine this being a good role for Teuscher.

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16 hours ago, nanushka said:

I was thinking about what you wrote in the "Promotions" thread, regarding Shayer, while watching Scott today. I've never loved Scott, but he definitely comes across more as a man than a boy in this role, unlike Shayer. The drama made much more sense. (Not that it has to in Corsaire...)

I saw both casts and thought Scott and Shayer both came across as men.  The drama seemed the same to me either way, however, I found Shayer's dancing much more exciting.  

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Last night was a great night, though I still missed Simkin, ending the day-long ballet gluttony on a good note.

Shevchenko was elegant, regal, commanding and technically secure. Though, Brandt did out-do her at the matinee on a few of her pirouettes, especially the a la seconds. Shevchenko definitely brings some Russian glamour and her mime is always very clear. I’d be a fool to miss her Swan Lake.

Mack.....wow! He tore up that stage and the crowd loved him. As noted above, no he’s not “refined “ and doesn’t have beautiful feet but his jumps are explosive with great ballon and his technique in general is excellent. He is also an incredibly strong and sensitive partner. But, perhaps most of all, he commands not just the stage but the entire theater. What a presence! And, he has a megawatt smile that could light up the furthest row. I’d be thrilled if he joined full time (with Forster still getting a bump up, please). However, I don’t think he and Shevchenko had any chemistry. Just not a good fit. I think he’d be better with maybe Boylston or Trenary. He is not tall, so he’d need to stick with the shorter ladies. 

Trenary was excellent as Gulnare, though she still needs more projection and command. Watch Shevchenko! Technically she is absolutely lovely, as always, and did a very good job conveying the sad, destitute slave girl at the beginning. 

Bell - what more can I say about him except promote him right now! Some of his acting nuances weren’t as clear as Hoven’s in the matinee, but he’s learning and the progress is visible. Dancing wise, he did the deep plies coming out of the jumps, gorgeous split leaps, fast pirouettes, and partnered Trenary very well. He held his own. It’s hard to believe this is a 20 year old with barely 3 years in the corps.

Ahn was better than in the afternoon (perhaps he was saving himself), but he still had a few bobbles. Same high gorgeous split leaps. A lot of people in the audience don’t keep up with casting developments because there was a loud groan when the announcer said Simkin was out injured. 

K Williams was the best of the Odalisques (and comparing to the matinee as well) - quite excellent actually. 

I agree with NinaFan that Shayer did a great job as Birbanto and his technique was clearer and more exciting than Scott’s. I’d say he still needs more maturity, but I do see an improvement. Perhaps playing a tough guy helped? Also, he and Mack had a very natural camaraderie.   

Finally, there was a major prop snafu at the end with the ship wreck. It looked like the ship pitched too far to the side towards downstage because it caught on the ocean scrim and tore two massive holes, so big that you could see the entire top of the ship through it. It must have also damaged the rock scenery because Shevchenko and Mack had to improvise and instead walked out in front of the damaged scrim to embrace as the curtain came down. Good thing it was the final performance.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ABT Fan said:

Mack.....wow! He tore up that stage and the crowd loved him. As noted above, no he’s not “refined “ and doesn’t have beautiful feet but his jumps are explosive with great ballon and his technique in general is excellent. He is also an incredibly strong and sensitive partner. But, perhaps most of all, he commands not just the stage but the entire theater. What a presence! And, he has a megawatt smile that could light up the furthest row. I’d be thrilled if he joined full time (with Forster still getting a bump up, please). However, I don’t think he and Shevchenko had any chemistry. Just not a good fit. I think he’d be better with maybe Boylston or Trenary. He is not tall, so he’d need to stick with the shorter ladies. 

Very much agree about Mack’s performance (which I saw on Thursday). I thought he was actually reasonably tall, though. He looks nearly the same height as Stearns here (though it’s possible the angle of the photo is a factor, and it’s true one of Cory’s knees is bent), who used to partner Veronika Part:

 

Edited by nanushka

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Posted (edited)

I decided to visit NYC to see Manon and those spectacular casts. Then I decided to arrive a couple days early to see Simkin and Cornejo in Corsaire. Oh well...Looking forward to Manon and hope they have both recovered.

Saturday evening Corsaire: I don't disagree with any of the assessments already noted above. Of special note:

  • Aran Bell as Lankendem: just first-rate. His deep plies were so confident, partnering seemed very secure, acting convincing, technique impressive. He has a presence that says principal-in-waiting and I imagine it won't take very long.
  • Brooklyn Mack as Conrad: I was sitting with a group from Washington, DC who traveled north to see him and are dismayed that he's no longer with Washington Ballet. I thought his height, speed, presence, etc. were all impressive. Like others, I hope he adds some polish to details of form. He did one weak revoltade 540 that perhaps should wait until he can really nail it. Once we've seen Simkin's, it's hard to look good in comparison.
  • Gabe Shayer as Birbanto: Very strong, solid technique, impressive acting.
  • Christine Shevchenko as Medora: Oh my! Along with her sparkling and very impressive technique, she has a regal, commanding elegance and presence that is truly captivating. She's not just a great technician, but a truly great artist. 
Edited by California
spelling correction

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Posted (edited)

I saw four Corsaire performances this past week: Brandt/Mack/Simkin/Lane (Tues), Shevchenko/Mack/Ahn/Trenary (Thurs), Teuscher/Stearns/Whiteside/Williams (Fri), and Shevchenko et al again on Sat.  Here are some quick thoughts from me, though I think many other posters have already expressed my sentiments:

Obviously Simkin is a world-class talent, and his Ali would be a highlight at any company. It's too bad he was injured in the middle of the run.

On Mack versus Stearns:

I agree with the comments about Mack lacking some polish and finesse, but he was a fantastic partner for both Brandt and Shevchenko (he turned both like tops), and I felt like he brought some excitement to the role of Conrad with his explosive jumps. For me, the pas de trois in Act II works best when each member brings a "wow" factor to their variation, and I often find that the Conrad is the weakest link.  However, I felt like Mack was able to keep the energy going (or building) as Conrad--something which I felt Stearns was lacking.  Stearns is very handsome and is a fine partner, but he's not a particularly bravura dancer, and I felt like the energy sagged a bit when he did his variations.

On the Medoras:

I suppose even the exceptional turners have great nights and not-so-great nights.  On Tuesday, Brandt seemed to be a bit "off"--she wasn't able to pull off the multiple revolutions a la seconde, and she traveled a lot on her fouettes. However, it sounds like she was on fire at the Sat matinee.  There is almost nothing I can critique in her dancing, but I do sometimes feel that her facial expressions are a bit overdone/exaggerated for my liking.

As for Shevchenko, Thurs night was one for the record books for me, while Sat night was merely excellent.

Having seen Shevchenko on Thursday, Teuscher was a bit of a letdown on Friday.  I can find absolutely nothing wrong with her dancing, which is technically solid, secure, and beautiful, and I also have no quibbles about her acting.  She's a ballerina that I absolutely do not mind seeing at all, and one I would choose to see over several other ABT principals.  And yet...

What I realize from this week of Corsaires is that Brandt and especially Shevchenko are what I would call "risk-takers," while Teuscher plays it safe. Brandt and Shevchenko seem to try to squeeze in extra revolutions in turns whenever they can--and sometimes it may not work out, but they try.  Teuscher is also a very talented turner, as evidenced by these posts, but the only times she seemed to really push it were in the chaine turns (which were the fastest of any Medora or Gulnare this week) and the fouettes:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYvlVjaDCyP/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BT4WSbmDMKM/

To give a specific example, in Act I Medora performs a diagonal that ends in a pirouette. On Thursday, Shevchenko did it with her arms in 5th above her head, and she managed a quad or a quint--and it looked so easy and perfect, like she was floating in the air, that it drew applause.  On Friday, I waited to see what Teuscher would do with that moment, but it never came.  And so I thought maybe I had misremembered, and that the remarkable pirouette was actually in Act II.  But no, on Sat, at that same moment, Shevchenko attempted another long turn, but this time she was only able to manage a triple. 

This is precisely what struck me about Shevchenko's dancing this week--she seems to try to make every step she can into a "moment"--whether it be by adding some extra revolutions, or about reaching for 180 degrees in every extension, or holding every balance just an extra fraction of a second longer.

I can't wait to see what she does with "Swan Lake" this year. And I'm also wondering if dancing with Aran Bell will push Teuscher a little bit more out of her comfort zone, since he seems to be a bit more of a bravura dancer than Stearns. 

Edited by Batsuchan

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An article in the Washington Post about Mack’s guest appearances and how that all came about. It also mentions that he’s guesting with ENB in the fall. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/the-washington-ballet-let-brooklyn-mack-go-the-popular-dancer-landed-at-the-metropolitan-opera-house/2019/06/18/3b2364f8-8ee8-11e9-b162-8f6f41ec3c04_story.html?utm_term=.309c96dfab6c

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