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ABT 2019 Swan Lake


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29 minutes ago, nanushka said:

if she expected to do the fouettés on the beat (which I suppose isn't necessarily a given).

In my experience doing fouettés to the beat is the exception rather than the norm! (I'll never forget Tiler Peck's fouettés as Odile... :wub:) Using all the music with solid, non-travelling fouettés, whether they be singles or multiples, is enough to satisfy me.

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55 minutes ago, mille-feuille said:

In my experience doing fouettés to the beat is the exception rather than the norm! (I'll never forget Tiler Peck's fouettés as Odile... :wub:) Using all the music with solid, non-travelling fouettés, whether they be singles or multiples, is enough to satisfy me.

Do you mean fouettés generally, or just in Swan Lake? I consider fouettés not done to the beat to be a fail, irrespective of the ballet, or how many eventually get done, or how many multiples get thrown into the mix. Like you, I'm absolutely fine with well-executed singles on the beat; they can be abolutely thrilling. (And in Swan Lake, I don't even need to see fouettés at all. If a manege of piqué turns was good enough for Maya Plisetskaya, it's good enough for me.)  I honestly can't recall the last time I saw a ballerina do fouettés off the beat, but then again I don't see Swan Lake or Don Q that regularly anymore, which could be where the most egregious violations occur. 

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14 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I consider fouettés not done to the beat to be a fail, irrespective of the ballet, or how many eventually get done, or how many multiples get thrown into the mix. Like you, I'm absolutely fine with well-executed singles on the beat; they can be abolutely thrilling. 

I agree about clean solid singles being perfectly acceptable and often very impressive, and I also agree that on the beat — or at the very least starting off that way, in clear relation to the music (understanding that when multiples enter the mix each whip can take more like a beat and a half) — is really to be expected (though not always achieved).

And now I am hoping that the tow truck AAA is sending to me on I-78 gets here quickly so I can still make tonight’s performance! 🙏

Edited by nanushka
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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

I agree about clean solid singles being perfectly acceptable and often very impressive, and I also agree that on the beat — or at the very least starting off that way, in clear relation to the music (understanding that when multiples enter the mix each set can take more like a beat and a half) — is really to be expected (though not always achieved).

I really like the way Gillian Murphy chose to incorporate multiples into the mix in this video. She reserves her multiples for one particular recurring motif in the "A" section of the music, and then opts for straight singles in the "B" section, and it is just *chef's kiss*. So musical, and all the more thrilling because of it!

 

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25 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Do you mean fouettés generally, or just in Swan Lake?

I mean long sections (32 counts worth) of fouettés, such as are found in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Le Corsaire. I see most dancers do them approximately on the beat, but not RIGHT on it.

16 minutes ago, nanushka said:

And now I am hoping that the tow truck AAA is sending to me on I-78 gets here quickly so I can still make tonight’s performance! 🙏

Good luck!!!

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26 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I agree about clean solid singles being perfectly acceptable and often very impressive, and I also agree that on the beat — or at the very least starting off that way, in clear relation to the music (understanding that when multiples enter the mix each whip can take more like a beat and a half) — is really to be expected (though not always achieved).

And now I am hoping that the tow truck AAA is sending to me on I-78 gets here quickly so I can still make tonight’s performance! 🙏

Nina(o) Ananiashvilli was always the queen of the super fast singles (this video is actually slower than I remember her tearing into them).

 

Edited by aurora
Typo!
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10 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I really like the way Gillian Murphy chose to incorporate multiples into the mix in this video. She reserves her multiples for one particular recurring motif in the "A" section of the music, and then opts for straight singles in the "B" section, and it is just *chef's kiss*. So musical, and all the more thrilling because of it!

 

Completely. If a dancer is going to do anything other than straight singles, I like to see a discernible pattern of some sort, indicating that they’re doing something more (and more rehearsed) than just throwing in whatever their body happens to be capable of managing at the given moment. The latter is not truly impressive, no matter how many rotations they pack in.

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19 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I really like the way Gillian Murphy chose to incorporate multiples into the mix in this video. She reserves her multiples for one particular recurring motif in the "A" section of the music, and then opts for straight singles in the "B" section, and it is just *chef's kiss*. So musical, and all the more thrilling because of it!

 

Thank you for this wonderful clip. She’s the best! I look forward to her return to the stage in one of her signature classical principal roles.

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15 minutes ago, mille-feuille said:

I mean long sections (32 counts worth) of fouettés, such as are found in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Le Corsaire. I see most dancers do them approximately on the beat, but not RIGHT on it.

I think that's one of the reasons I can't work up much enthusiasm for 32 counts of fouettés: the degree of difficulty outweighs their inherent choreographic interest. One little miscalculation, and even the best dancer can end up off the beat or worse, and to what end? 

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9 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

I'm less enthusiastic about seeing Hammoudi (I wish it were Forster), but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

As it turns out, we’re getting Forster’s lakeside Rothbart tonight — but I know that’s not what you had in mind!

Excited to see a Trenary/Brandt/Gorak pas de trois!

And it will be nice to see Ribagorda in Neapolitan (with Pogossian).

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2 minutes ago, nanushka said:

As it turns out, we’re getting Forster’s lakeside Rothbart tonight — but I know that’s not what you had in mind!

Excited to see a Trenary/Brandt/Gorak pas de trois!

And it will be nice to see Ribagorda in Neapolitan (with Pogossian).

You read my mind! And, we do have the A team for the pas de trois. I saw on Fang’s Instagram that she’s injured so she won’t be doing Big Swans. McBride wrote on her Instagram today that she’s debuting the pas de trois tomorrow night with Ribagorda (good to see them both getting opportunities). 

Ok, bring on the swans! 🦢 

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Well I found myself rather unmoved by Act II (and surprisingly preferred Seo's performance there last night — I didn't like Shevy's mime, and I found her to have less grace and lightness than Seo, especially on her various types of beats; overall her dancing just seemed a bit heavier), but Act III was phenomenal. Calvin Royal stepped in as ballroom Rothbart and gave a superb performance, other than the balance (leg went up, came down, went up again, balanced for a moment, then it was over). Big dancing — dramatic, sexy, thrilling. Christine was on fire, with the best characterization I've seen since Part. Fouettés were singles, doubles, and turns a la seconde thrown in. The B section was solid singles, on the beat throughout. Entire PDD was excellent. Whiteside's jumps were soaring. Brandt was a real standout in the pas de trois. 

Edited by nanushka
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Shevchenko was the ultimate O/O tonight. What a queen! I expected greatness from her and boy did she deliver. Such expressiveness and nuanced acting. Beautiful swan arms, great extensions, secure and fast pirouettes. My one quibble was that I didn’t care for her fouetté variations: at first singles alternating with a la seconds, then eventually all singles. The a la seconds looked odd and she struggled a bit maintaining speed and form. Otherwise, she’s a rare one in that both her Odette and Odile were equally fleshed out and developed. Hard to believe that this is only her second time performing the role. She should have been given two performances.

Whiteside was the big surprise of the evening. He has really grown in this role and perhaps he’s been taking acting classes because he was boring no more. Really defined character and he showed wonderful sensitivity. He had a few technical bobbles but overall his dancing was excellent. He and Shevchenko were a great match (a couple of partnering issues but nothing major). He spun her in the supported pirouettes with tremendous speed and control.

Royal replaced Hammoudi as Purple Rothbart, and he too has greatly improved since I saw him at his debut (2 years ago?). He slithered across the stage like a snake and had some real OMG moments. I still need a little something more from him though. But, well done!

As already mentioned, we had the A team of Brandt, Trenary and Gorak for the pas de trois. Gorgeousness from all three. K Williams replaced Fang as one of the big swans and she was expansive, lush, and technically beautiful. 

The swan corps was in excellent shape, and the 4 little swans did very well with McBride being the most efficient. Coker stood out again in the corps. And, in Act I Klein kept catching my eye amongst the peasant men. I’d love to see him as Benno. 

A very impressive evening!

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2 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Well I found myself rather unmoved by Act II (and surprisingly preferred Seo's performance there last night), but Act III was phenomenal. Calvin Royal stepped in as ballroom Rothbart and gave a superb performance, other than the balance (leg went up, came down, went up again, balanced for a moment, then it was over). Big dancing — dramatic, sexy, thrilling. Christine was on fire, with the best characterization I've seen since Part. Fouettés were singles, doubles, and turns a la seconde thrown in. The B section was solid singles, on the beat throughout. Entire PDD was excellent. Whiteside's jumps were soaring. Brandt was a real standout in the pas de trois. 

Fascinating!  I had the complete opposite reaction--but perhaps because I didn't see last night's show.

I thought Shevchenko's White Swan was amazing--just mesmerizing and beautiful!  She took her time, she filled every beat of the music...I was extremely impressed.

The Black Swan was excellent, but I feel like last year's was even more exciting--or perhaps it's because I now expect that level of mind-blowing technical excellence from Shevchenko.  I expect her to hold that arabesque balance forever (as she did) and whip out those double pirouettes ala seconde and nail the fouettes. 

I felt like all the supporting cast brought their A-game tonight: Brandt/Gorak/Trenary were excellent in the pas de trois, Calvin Royal was an unexpectedly exciting and charismatic Von Rothbart, and Tom Forster was full of anger and anguish as the monster Von Rothbart.

It really is a shame Shevchenko doesn't have another "Swan Lake" this week.  If for some reason she ends up with another show this week, I will RUN to the box office to get the best ticket they have!

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4 minutes ago, Batsuchan said:

Fascinating!  I had the complete opposite reaction--but perhaps because I didn't see last night's show.

I thought Shevchenko's White Swan was amazing--just mesmerizing and beautiful!  She took her time, she filled every beat of the music...I was extremely impressed.

The Black Swan was excellent, but I feel like last year's was even more exciting--or perhaps it's because I now expect that level of mind-blowing technical excellence from Shevchenko.  I expect her to hold that arabesque balance forever (as she did) and whip out those double pirouettes ala seconde and nail the fouettes.

It's likely quite true that my experience the night before set up my reaction tonight. Seo's Odile was so disappointing that Shevchenko was bound to impress. Comparing in my mind her performance tonight to her Medora a few weeks ago, I'd definitely agree tonight was not as stellar — but then I felt her Medora was a new high for this already very accomplished artist, so I don't begrudge her going back to her more normal degree of excellence.

Despite my lukewarm reaction to Act II tonight, I'd still count her Odette to be among the strongest few I've seen in the last several years. Expectations and context both definitely shaped my reactions.

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Also, Charles Barker tonight was so much better than LaMarche last night. The orchestra has been sounding unusually good this year, and Barker really got some very nice musicality out of them. The tempi were much less erratic and seemed more responsive to the dancers.

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Tonight was the most I've ever enjoyed Whiteside in a full-length classical role. His acting was understated but effective, and his dancing was gorgeous -- big lofty jumps with soft landings, excellent turns, and rock-solid partnering with the exception of the few little issues mentioned by @ABT Fan (yes, those super fast supported pirouettes were beautiful AND musical). The overhead lifts in Act II haven't looked so exciting in a long time. In some ways, his dancing reminded me of Gomes at his very best in this role (in terms of dancing, not characterization), though Whiteside probably has a bit more facility with jumps and fast turns. 

I had big expectations for Shevchenko going into tonight, and for the most part, she delivered. Her Act II had lots of gorgeous moments -- she struck some great arabesques, had a flexible back and lovely port de bras (and even threw a couple ripples into her swan arms as she departed at the end of the act, something I haven't seen much of since Ananiashvili and Wiles toward the end of her ABT career). But overall, I wasn't very moved by her Odette; my feeling was that she still has a little ways to go in figuring out who her Odette is, beyond the gorgeous dancing. I guess I'm looking for deepened characterization; granted, this was only her second outing in the role at the Met, so she has time to develop the role.

Her Odile was pretty fabulous, and, I felt, was more fully realized character-wise than her Odette. The adagio was drop-dead gorgeous, as were both principals' variations. Shevchenko's fouette sequence was really solid, but I agree with @ABT Fan that I don't care much for the a la seconde turns. Maybe they'd work in a fouette sequence in another ballet, but given Shevchenko's facility with turning, I think it would have been more effective to go with multiple (musical) revolutions followed by singles. 

Wow -- Calvin Royal's Purple Rothbart is light years ahead of where he was when he debuted the role; so much more impactful, commanding and fun. It's a shame about the arabesque balance (I thought he actually lifted his leg three separate times), because otherwise it was a pretty superb performance. I'm curious as to what makes that balance so difficult; I wonder if it's the type of thing that doesn't look difficult to audience members, but is actually very challenging. It seems to cause problems for so many Rothbarts. I suppose when men usually do an arabesque on demi-point, it's often a fleeting step that immediately transitions into something else. And I guess you don't usually start with both of your feet together.

It was a superb Act I pas de trois -- so light, graceful, and executed with such apparent ease. Gorak doesn't turn Benno into a bravura role, the way Cornejo used to do, but his dancing is so elegant that I almost prefer his approach. Their little pas de trois toward the beginning of Act III was perhaps executed better than I've ever seen before. What luxury casting. I loved all three of them. 

The orchestra is sounding so much better than it did a few years ago. No funky violin moments during the Act II PDD; no wonky horns for the fanfares announcing entrances in Act III. You used to be guaranteed at least one or two cringe-worthy moments in every performance back in the day. 

Edited by fondoffouettes
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I thought Shevchenko was perfection tonight, down to the tiniest little gestures. Her white swan was breathtaking. Her fouettes in Le Corsaire two weeks ago may have been cleaner (flawless, in fact), but the turns a la seconde she threw in tonight were shockingly impressive. Personally I've never seen a better swan than what I saw tonight. Whiteside was a superb partner and solo dancer, with very high jumps. I didn't notice any mishaps at all. Brandt/Trenary/Gorak were fantastic in the pas de trois, especially Brandt.

I'm not sure if Swan Lake always gets this much applause but this audience was ecstatic throughout the whole show. Shevchenko got three bouquets of flowers, including one that someone threw onto the stage during curtain calls. It's a mystery why she only gets this Tuesday night show. 

This was my first time seeing this production as an attentive ballet goer and my god are parts of it bad. Why does every woman who isn't a swan (or in the PDT) have to wear a big heavy dress that hides her legs? Where is the bravura jester that's supposed to be in Act I????? Why are the "guest" dances in the beginning of Act III so forgettable? What's with the maypole (that inevitably gets tangled)?

Edited by JuliaJ
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6 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

(I thought he actually lifted his leg three separate times)

Yes, I think you're right about that, now that I think about it. Like Forster, it seemed he might have almost had it, but then lost it.

5 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

Where is the bravura jester that's supposed to be in Act I?????

Well, to be fair, that's not an original feature of the ballet but rather a later interpolation...

I actually quite like the maypole, as it's a nice spectacle that adds variety to the very long waltz. Tonight's tangling was unusually bad. When it works, it's a nice visual I think.

Edited by nanushka
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6 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

Why are the "guest" dances in the beginning of Act II so forgettable? What's with the maypole (that inevitably gets tangled)?

Um, yeah, it's things like this that make it harder and harder for me to see this particular production multiple times per week unless the casting is stellar. I'll add to that the almost universally detested choreography for the swans in front of the curtain before Act IV. And, overall, the national dances aren't so hot. 

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Even though I don’t think she’d make an exceptional O/O overall, I was thinking tonight that I would love to see Brandt do Odile’s variation sometime. With her often astonishing control I bet she’d kill it. 

For instance:

 

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4 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Even though I don’t think she’d make an exceptional O/O overall, I was thinking tonight that I would love to see Brandt do Odile’s variation sometime. With her often astonishing control I bet she’d kill it. 

For instance:

 

Yes, if she could pull that off in performance, it would be truly jaw-dropping. While I realize Brandt doesn't fit the typical O/O type, I don't think we'll know what she could do with the role until she's given the chance. I would have never imagined Sarah Lane had such profound dramatic abilities until she was cast as Giselle and then this year as Manon. She was always just the sunny soubrette... So, you never know.

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1 minute ago, fondoffouettes said:

Yes, if she could pull that off in performance, it would be truly jaw-dropping. While I realize Brandt doesn't fit the typical O/O type, I don't think we'll know what she could do with the role until she's given the chance. I would have never imagined Sarah Lane had such profound dramatic abilities until she was cast as Giselle and then this year as Manon. She was always just the sunny soubrette... So, you never know.

Very true, in dramatic terms. I was particularly thinking of how very crisp Brandt seems as a dancer — definitely a strength of hers, though perhaps not as fitting for O/O. Lane always seemed more lyrical to me, though I agree she’s developed in unforeseen ways. And so might Brandt.

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7 hours ago, nanushka said:

Very true, in dramatic terms. I was particularly thinking of how very crisp Brandt seems as a dancer — definitely a strength of hers, though perhaps not as fitting for O/O. Lane always seemed more lyrical to me, though I agree she’s developed in unforeseen ways. And so might Brandt.

Personally, I’m dying for Brandt to get a Kitri. It’s an obvious choice, but I think she’ll blow the roof off the theater. Hmm...and how about with Mack?

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