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ABT Fall 2019 NY season

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1 hour ago, ABT Fan said:

An article in the Times about Cornejo's career and upcoming anniversary performance:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/arts/dance/herman-cornejo-20th-anniversary-abt.html

Thanks for this and just read the whole article, thought of these few interesting part and seems telling IMO: ".... it took several more years for him to be assigned the roles he craved and felt he deserved. ….  it took Kevin McKenzie, the artistic director of Ballet Theater, a while to see him in this light. …. Ms. Copeland, who will dance the role of Terpsichore opposite his Apollo..." - Why should anyone with his talent take so long to be given a chance that he felt he deserved? Lack of coaches? Feels like artistic won't look at a dancer unless it is someone that suits their taste buds? And finally seems up-thread comment is correct, sadly Lane is snubbed again for Apollo since it is clear Copeland is the expected lead ☹️ ! Is it too late for Lane to look elsewhere? She is clearly all our favorite yet not catching the artistic's taste buds! She was amazing with Cornejo in Manon and hit that out of the park!

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4 minutes ago, stuben said:

: ".... it took several more years for him to be assigned the roles he craved and felt he deserved. …. 

My recollection is that when Cornejo first joined ABT he was told that he would never dance major princely roles in full-length ballets because he was too short. Then, as luck would have it, petite Xiomara Reyes joined the company, and Cornejo immediately had a partner who was just the right size. From that moment, he began to be assigned princely roles opposite Reyes as his partner. It made me so happy at the time that this was happening. His ability to take on these major roles was apparent from the get-go.

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2 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

An article in the Times about Cornejo's career and upcoming anniversary performance:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/arts/dance/herman-cornejo-20th-anniversary-abt.html

Oh what a lovely article. Thank you for posting it. Yes, I was privileged to see him in July in Sleeping Beauty, and there are no words adequate to praise that solo. He was partnered with Sarah Lane, both perfect together. I also saw their partnership rise to a new level of intimacy and emotion in Manon in June. You could have heard a pin drop in the theater during their pdds, especially the final one. Heart wrenching dance for the ages. Bravo, Herman!

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16 minutes ago, stuben said:

Why should anyone with his talent take so long to be given a chance that he felt he deserved? Lack of coaches? Feels like artistic won't look at a dancer unless it is someone that suits their taste buds? 

I think it was largely related to Cornejo's height. It took him just four years to go from corps to soloist to principal at ABT, so clearly they recognized his talent. But I think it took the AD a lot longer to start envisioning him for the leading-man prince roles. I started going to ABT in 2003, the year Cornejo was promoted to principal, and back then, he danced a lot of Bennos (it was ultimate luxury casting -- he danced the most dazzling Act I pas de trois I've ever seen), as well as roles like Mercutio in R&J (again, he was fabulous). The company also had no shortage of lead male dancers back then. 

Just a reminiscence...but Cornejo's Puck is indelibly etched in my mind, when I think back on his career at ABT. Has anyone ever danced it so brilliantly?

Edited by fondoffouettes

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16 minutes ago, stuben said:

.... Lane....She is clearly all our favorite yet not catching the artistic's taste buds! She was amazing with Cornejo in Manon and hit that out of the park!

Not to mention the other ballets in which this partnership teamed so magnificently:  GISELLE, SLEEPING BEAUTY, OTHER DANCES, T&V, etc. To me, it is absurd that Lane is not a part of Herman's celebration. Ridiculous.

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In light of Alicia Alonso’s passing today, and the fact that she not only danced at ABT for many years but performed in the world premiere of T&V, I would HOPE that ABT announces pre-curtain that they’re dedicating tonight’s performance of T&V to her (Lane/Gorak are dancing). If anyone is there, please let us know if they do (and about the rest of the evening).

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I saw the Tharp ballet last night.  It was baffling, to say the least.  Part of the problem was that Tharp decided to give character names to each of the dancers, as though there was some plot driving the ballet.  If there was a plot, I never figured it out.  Some of the choreography was interesting, but a lot of it was dull.  This was not top level Tharp work by any means.  I also wish the costumes had been less tacky and flamboyant.  The costumes were often distractingly awful.  Poor Herman looked like he was wearing an old Elvis jumpsuit, and in the end had to wrap himself in a big tacky silver curtain.  Poor Stephanie  Williams had to wear an outfit that only emphasized her broad shoulders and wide torso.  The only costume that looked good was Shevchenko's. Herman definitely deserves a better ballet than this for his anniversary.

The Lang piece was brief and harmlessly generic.  However, some of the songs used  in the recording are identical to ones used in Balanchine's Who Cares.  I thought about hom much better Balanchine's choreography was  as compared to Lang's.

The best ballet on the program was T&V.  I thought Teuscher made a marvelous debut.  Cory was a good partner, but when he had to do the series of double tours he veered significantly to the side of the stage by the end.  Also, his feet were never in proper position on the landings. (I miss DeLuz.  Will we again see anyone with his technical brilliance in this ballet?)  Despite some shortcomings in the performance, this ballet was pure joy.

The head of Celebrity Cruises went on for what seemed an eternity after she was awarded some bogus award by ABT.  Nate Berkus (no idea who he is or how to spell his name) gave a speech.  Boylston and Whiteside also gave speeches.  Way too many boring speeches.

Edited by abatt

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Devon Teuscher's splendid debut in Theme and Variations was, indeed, far and away the most exciting thing about ABT's 2019 fall gala.

Edited by Royal Blue

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6 hours ago, abatt said:

Oh, and the Balanchine Trust does not allow modification of choreographed steps.

Well thank goodness there is still SOME level of quality maintained...management's decision to allow dancers to perform roles they cannot execute at the expected level, in favor of celebrity and political correctness is inexcusable. I'm sure this rule of the Balanchine Trust is the reason Lane is being rehearsed to understudy Copeland. Would absolutely love to see Lane in Apollo...if there's any hint that she will go on on  will run to buy a last minute ticket. 

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So Tharp puts Hoven in a dress and then makes a joke out of Cornejo refusing his invitation to dance? Ugh. I'll obviously have to see it to judge, but sounds like that could be a really unfortunate creative choice.

Edited by nanushka

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7 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

In light of Alicia Alonso’s passing today, and the fact that she not only danced at ABT for many years but performed in the world premiere of T&V, I would HOPE that ABT announces pre-curtain that they’re dedicating tonight’s performance of T&V to her (Lane/Gorak are dancing). If anyone is there, please let us know if they do (and about the rest of the evening).

The @abtofficial IG account has a story up announcing that tonight’s performance is dedicated to Alonso.

ETA: ...and Hammoudi has a story up now with audio of KMcK giving a curtain speech about her.

Edited by nanushka

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Just got around to buying ABT tickets. There are plenty . OK facility fee, service fee and costume restoration fee? Be honest and charge more for the tickets. 

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I was at tonight’s performance, which was a real mixed bag.   Yes, the evening opened with the AD’s remarks in memory of Alicia Alonso.  He stumbled through his speech, several times forgetting what it was he was supposed to say, or wanted to say.  What might have been an uplifting eulogy was turned into a dull jumble of confusion, pretty much killing whatever anticipation for T&V the audience might have had, not mention feelings for Alonso.  Way to go.

And T&V was not great.  This was such a wonderful opportunity for Lane and Gorak to give strong, dynamic, performances in honor of Alonso, and to show off their skills.  Apparently Lane’s nerves have been troubling her again – her Instagram has been fraught with anxious postings about this ballet all week.  I believe the conductor, Charles Barker, slowed down the orchestra’s tempo at the start to accommodate her nerves – and I mean WAY down.  It was glacial.  The great thing about T&V is the speed and precision required to perform it, and the thrill you get watching it.  Here, the pace was just too slow.  However, Lane has such command of her technique that if you were unfamiliar with this ballet, you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong.  She looked wonderful.  Her major issue came at the end of the slow woodwinds sequence, when she joins hands with all the corps women as they support her through the arabesque penchee, all the while twisting in and around themselves.  It’s a haunting and ethereal moment, and she performed this beautifully, and continued to do so as the music shifted to a faster pace.  Near the end, however, she has to perform a series of pique turns moving downstage right, in preparation for her exit.  The turns were far too slow, and she completed them after the music had ended.  It was unfortunate.

Gorak’s performance was problematic as well.  His double tours kept traveling, way too far over toward stage right, and again, he ended off the music.  The worst part, though, was the final moment of the ballet.  The male lead lifts his partner onto his shoulder, they hit a pose as the music ends.  But this is Gorak.  And he still can’t lift Lane.  His hands were clasped around her waist, and he couldn’t lift her up to his shoulder level, she slid halfway down and he held her there, her legs dangling in the air.  After all these years.  Again?  At this late date, it’s beyond disappointing.

I’ll be back on Saturday evening for Lane & Gorak’s second performance of T&V, hoping against hope they’ll be better.

I found the Tharp ballet somewhat fascinating, and not at all the horror show the NY Times review implied.  Norma Kamali’s costumes looked as if the dancers had been let loose at a costume house and pulled bits and pieces together from boxes and bins to improvise their own outfits.  Cornejo was extraordinary, astonishingly strong and confident.  His dancing seemed infused with the flavor of Argentine tango.  I kept thinking of Rudolf Valentino’s tango in the silent film “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”  You can’t compare his dancing to Cornejo’s, of course, but the bent knees, elbows held aloft, the high head, all the tango elements seemed to flow in and out.  At one point, Cornejo dances a short duet with Skylar Brandt with tango-like footwork.  I found the ballet fun, and upbeat.

Both Brandt and Trenary danced in all three pieces tonight.  The final piece, “The Seasons,” was the highlight of the program.  Everyone danced with great confidence and speed, a great improvement from the spring.  There was some astonishing work from Kate Hurlin as Hail, Aran Bell as Winter, Blaine Hoven as the Faun.  The evening, which started so slowly, really ended on a high note.

Spotted in the audience:  Adrain Danchig-Waring, seated across the aisle from me, Herman Cornejo’s wife, Maria, seated behind me, and Jon Stafford, chatting up patrons near the stage.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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11 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

Just a reminiscence...but Cornejo's Puck is indelibly etched in my mind, when I think back on his career at ABT. Has anyone ever danced it so brilliantly?

Or Alain in Fille mal gardée - so heartbreakingly funny.

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Darn, that is a shame laurel. I think Lane's nerves are her Achilles heel. And it seems to be a vicious cycle - she is disregarded by the AD, so then gets too "in her head" so to speak and lets the anxiety of proving herself get the better of her. Gorak not being able to lift a tiny dancer like Lane is ridiculous. 

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24 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

Darn, that is a shame laurel. I think Lane's nerves are her Achilles heel. And it seems to be a vicious cycle - she is disregarded by the AD, so then gets too "in her head" so to speak and lets the anxiety of proving herself get the better of her. Gorak not being able to lift a tiny dancer like Lane is ridiculous. 

I think the issue is when Lane makes a mistake or is "off" everyone can see it. Her body language and facial expressions change. Some dancers can hide an obvious mistake with a big smile and confident body language. I remember a Swan Lake where she fell off pointe towards the very end of her sequence of fouettes. Instead of finishing them and then holding her arms in fifth the way I've seen many ballerinas do when their fouettes also didn't go as planned, Lane looked crestfallen and sort of stood around until the music stopped. 

It's a shame because when she's on she lights up the entire auditorium. 

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I enjoyed the Twyla ballet more on the second viewing, because I  decided to ignore the character names in the program for each dancer and just focus on the dance.  I still felt that the costumes were a negative distraction.

Aside from Gorak's error at the very end when he was unable to lift lane to his shoulder, his double tours were sloppy.  I think he did about  4 and gave up.  There was still plenty of music left when he should have been doing additional double tours.  Instead, he raised his arms and lowered himself to one  knee to assume the final position of that section of the choreography.  His performance explains why he will never move up to principal  Awful.  If ABT doesn't have men who can handle the demands of a ballet, they should not perform the ballet.  How this company has declined.  Their male roster used to be the best anywhere.

The Seasons was utter brilliance.  Loved it.   It is a masterpiece.

By the way, I don't regard McKenzie's hesitation in casting short dancers in certain roles as paternalism.  In fact, I wish McKenzie would exercise more discretion in assigning roles.  As an example, I feel that both Cornejo and Copeland are too short for their roles in Apollo.  One size does not fit all for ballet roles.  Sometimes length of the limbs is part of the aesthetic of the choreography.

 

Edited by abatt

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45 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

Darn, that is a shame laurel. I think Lane's nerves are her Achilles heel. And it seems to be a vicious cycle - she is disregarded by the AD, so then gets too "in her head" so to speak and lets the anxiety of proving herself get the better of her. Gorak not being able to lift a tiny dancer like Lane is ridiculous. 

It is a shame indeed to hear 😯 based on what is said and what she has endured from the AD, the pressure of it all might have caused this result? I can't image how it won't effect anybody in any situation like this, agreed that a performer should know not to let it get to them but who knows what goes on behind closed doors?! All I can say is that times I have seen her and the last of which was Manon, she brought us all to tears and that will be my memory I choose to carry of her.

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The first time I ever saw Lane was when, as the 1st shade in Bayadere, she stopped in the middle of her diagonal, flustered, and started over. She was a principal at that point, but I’ve really only seen that kind of behavior from students or very young professionals. Perhaps the AD has a real concern that she wouldn’t be able to handle too many large roles and thus doesn’t cast her? 

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9 hours ago, laurel said:

I was at tonight’s performance, which was a real mixed bag.   Yes, the evening opened with the AD’s remarks in memory of Alicia Alonso.  He stumbled through his speech, several times forgetting what it was he was supposed to say, or wanted to say.  What might have been an uplifting eulogy was turned into a dull jumble of confusion, pretty much killing whatever anticipation for T&V the audience might have had, not mention feelings for Alonso.  Way to go.

And T&V was not great.  This was such a wonderful opportunity for Lane and Gorak to give strong, dynamic, performances in honor of Alonso, and to show off their skills.  Apparently Lane’s nerves have been troubling her again – her Instagram has been fraught with anxious postings about this ballet all week.  I believe the conductor, Charles Barker, slowed down the orchestra’s tempo at the start to accommodate her nerves – and I mean WAY down.  It was glacial.  The great thing about T&V is the speed and precision required to perform it, and the thrill you get watching it.  Here, the pace was just too slow.  However, Lane has such command of her technique that if you were unfamiliar with this ballet, you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong.  She looked wonderful.  Her major issue came at the end of the slow woodwinds sequence, when she joins hands with all the corps women as they support her through the arabesque penchee, all the while twisting in and around themselves.  It’s a haunting and ethereal moment, and she performed this beautifully, and continued to do so as the music shifted to a faster pace.  Near the end, however, she has to perform a series of pique turns moving downstage right, in preparation for her exit.  The turns were far too slow, and she completed them after the music had ended.  It was unfortunate.

Gorak’s performance was problematic as well.  His double tours kept traveling, way too far over toward stage right, and again, he ended off the music.  The worst part, though, was the final moment of the ballet.  The male lead lifts his partner onto his shoulder, they hit a pose as the music ends.  But this is Gorak.  And he still can’t lift Lane.  His hands were clasped around her waist, and he couldn’t lift her up to his shoulder level, she slid halfway down and he held her there, her legs dangling in the air.  After all these years.  Again?  At this late date, it’s beyond disappointing.

What am I missing here? (Honest question.) I don't read anything here that points to Lane having a bad night. The music was slowed down, not in her control, and Gorak flubbed a lift (typical of him). Her turns were too slow at the end, is that it?

I don't understand why Gorak was cast in this. There's a reason he's had a lot of roles taken away from him and opportunities have dried up. He's brilliant in some things (the Golden Idol is one), but is a consistently unreliable partner who can't lift the smallest dancers. Lane should have been paired with Whiteside, who has danced this role before, and who is a very strong and capable partner. It's not like he has a heavy load this season. Or, they could have paired Ahn with Lane instead of with Boylston (Ahn and Lane have danced together before and are doing Nutcracker), and paired up Boylston/Whiteside.

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