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ABT 2019 Sleeping Beauty


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I was there but I am by no means an expert like all of you! I saw it the first year it premiered, then a rehearsal years later and then this evening. I like more each time I watch it. The arabesques seemed higher than what I remembered (or am I getting used to it). I thought Isabella was perfection - she took my breath away. Her balances were perfection. Aran was also gorgeous - he has a beautiful line and his petit allegro seemed very clean and fast (for my eyes, someone who does not know the choreography and can’t compare to others). I thought Skylar was amazing as the Fairy Canari and then again as Princess Florine - always impeccable. I have fallen in love with Catherine Hurlin. I wish act II was slightly shorter. 

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12 hours ago, BrazilianBAllet said:

IAran was also gorgeous - he has a beautiful line and his petit allegro seemed very clean and fast (for my eyes, someone who does not know the choreography and can’t compare to others). I thought Skylar was amazing as the Fairy Canari and then again as Princess Florine - always impeccable. I have fallen in love with Catherine Hurlin. I wish act II was slightly shorter. 

Thanks for your report. Great to hear that Bell's debut went so well. I too love Brandt, especially in roles like those, and Hurlin.

I'm curious about your reaction to Act II in particular, as I would have thought many would find Acts I and III to potentially feel like the overly long ones. I think Ratmansky has even left out some of the hunting party court dances. Was it just a desire to move on to the Act III highlights, or was there something else about the act that felt long?

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19 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

Abrera has posted a lovely rehearsal video of her executing that tricky arabesque-turn sequence from the Lilac variation. It’s nice to finally have a visual record of this.

 

My word, she is beautiful! This is so, so fiendishly difficult, but Abrera is just spectacular in this short sequence. I wish I could see her Lilac Fairy this year.

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On 6/30/2019 at 7:57 AM, California said:

Ratmansky just posted on his public Facebook:

SLEEPING BEAUTY: no 'fish dives' in the Wedding pas de deux this time around. we found the original Petipa steps in Pavel Gerdt drawings stored at the Bolshoi Museum. you can see Fonteyn & Helpman taking the pose drawn by Gerdt, who created the role of the Prince in 1890. apart from the Wedding pas Gerdt also sketched all the partnering in the Vision scene and we are incorporating all of it! feels so good to finally get it right. what a treasure

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Cornejo just posted rehearsal footage on his "stories" on Instagram -- it shows him rehearsing this move with Lane, but it's pretty disappointing. Interested in what others think. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to post those "stories" elsewhere.

EDITED: It's Lane not Brandt. Sorry!

Edited by California
correction for Lane
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7 minutes ago, California said:

Cornejo just posted rehearsal footage on his "stories" on Instagram -- it shows him rehearsing this move with Brandt. Sorry, but it's pretty disappointing. Interested in what others think. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to post those "stories" elsewhere.

Lane not Brandt

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I just watched this story, too, and agree that the "new" choreography in place of the fish dives is disappointing. It doesn't have the same climax. 

Also, this filmed rehearsal sequence (I've seen a few with the same style) is incredibly annoying with the dancers' bodies cut off to show upside-down reflection in the piano, etc. Grrrr!

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25 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I just watched this story, too, and agree that the "new" choreography in place of the fish dives is disappointing. It doesn't have the same climax. 

I still look forward to seeing this new (old) choreography, but there's no denying it's not as climactic as the fish dives. The final pose doesn't seem to have enough amplitude -- or something like that -- to justify it being held in place so long for the third iteration. I was hoping the video would show whether they still do the fish dive at the end, but no!

Edited by fondoffouettes
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2 hours ago, nanushka said:

Thanks for your report. Great to hear that Bell's debut went so well. I too love Brandt, especially in roles like those, and Hurlin.

I'm curious about your reaction to Act II in particular, as I would have thought many would find Acts I and III to potentially feel like the overly long ones. I think Ratmansky has even left out some of the hunting party court dances. Was it just a desire to move on to the Act III highlights, or was there something else about the act that felt long?

I think you are right - it is the anticipation of the 3rd act that got in the way. Maybe as I get more used to this ballet it will grow on me. I did love Isabella's balance in that breathtaking moment where she freezes in time facing the audience. A lot of kids left after the 2nd act - I get it, hard to expect they would survive a 3 act ballet that starts at 7:30...Maybe kids handled better in the matinee. I also did not mind the replacement for the "fish dive" - it seemed very unexpected and unusual and made me jump a little. I had not read the posts until after the performance so was unaware this was a recent change (just used to the fish dive from other youtube videos). 

Edited by BrazilianBAllet
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On 7/1/2019 at 1:57 PM, sandik said:

The grinning Nutcracker image is from the curtain -- at the very end of the ballet (when Clara wakes up in her bed in a "stage within a stage" setup) the "mouth" snaps shut -- it was very effective.

I hadn't known that was a self-portrait!

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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

I still look forward to seeing this new (old) choreography, but there's no denying it's not as climactic as the fish dives. The final pose doesn't seem to have enough amplitude -- or something like that -- to justify it being held in place so long for the third iteration. I was hoping the video would show whether they still do the fish dive at the end, but no!

I think the pose looks quite lovely as Sarah does it, and not at all awkward. I look forward to seeing how it comes across in full context. It’s definitely a much different sort of effect being aimed at, and so good to keep in mind that in original context the audience wouldn’t have had the fish dives in mind as a go-to comparison. (Obviously we can’t help having them in mind ourselves.)

Her backbend balance looks breathtaking, and Herman looks fantastic in his variation.

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Tonight’s prologue and first act were excellent overall. Shevchenko’s Lilac variation was near perfection — amazing fast pirouettes, just one of which wobbled the tiniest bit. Exquisite clarity and strength through elegance.

Sarah was gorgeous. She has such grace. A wonderful entrance solo (baby goat indeed), a radiant rose adagio (even when she couldn’t manage a very long balance before the final promenade she carried it off with a lovely little nod to her husband/suitor), and an excellent variation with near Shevy-quality pirouettes.

I noticed that the pose that will later replace the fish dives is actually prefigured in the adagio, near the beginning as she’s dancing with the suitors across the front of the stage, much like the adagio promenades and balances prefigure other later moments in the wedding PDD, which I’ve always thought a lovely gesture.

 

Edited by nanushka
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Sarah and Herman tonight made the strongest possible case for Ratmansky’s Beauty, I think, demonstrating just how much this original Petipa style (if indeed he has been reasonably successful in accurately recreating it) suits the choreography — clarifying just how musical and vibrant that choreography is.

The mime has clearly been superbly coached this year as well. Shevchenko was a particular standout in this (which she wasn’t, I felt, as Odette), but all the principals and Keith Roberts as Carabosse were excellent.

ETA: Sarah also looked gorgeous in the costumes, and especially in Acts I-II. I forgot how beautiful the vision scene costumes were. That’s a place where the ornate style is a bit more understated but still present, and I think it really works. (The Act I dress has really grown on me as well.) I also love the briar curtain that comes down during the interlude and that hovering bird.

Edited by nanushka
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I think Lane perhaps gave her most beautiful and self-assured Aurora to date, which isn't surprising given the new level of artistic authority she has demonstrated this season. Her dancing was incisive, graceful and incredibly musical. As @nanushka has noted, she and Cornejo perhaps made the best case I've seen for the Ratmansky choreography. Lane's Rose Adagio was very good, and even though she wasn't able to hold the final balance as long as I'm sure she'd hoped, the nod to Ribagorda and her ability to just roll with it was lovely (she used to let things like that throw her a bit). Her variation that followed was perhaps the best I've seen. 

Shevchenko was a fantastic Lilac Fairy. She made her variation look like a piece of cake, and her mime was wonderfully articulated. Perhaps no one can quite radiate warmth and benevolence like Abera does in this role, but Shevchenko came pretty close. 

Cornejo and Lane were simply a dream in the vision scene, and I'd forgotten how attractive the scenery and costumes are for that section, from the beautifully painted landscape backdrop, to the ornate boat, to the not at all heavy-looking white costumes adorned with gold leaves. Lane pulled off the clam shell balance just as it is supposed to be done. 

The wedding pas de deux was fantastic (I'm running out of superlatives). The backbend was even more pronounced than in the rehearsal video (I almost gasped). Regarding the replacements to the fish dives, I quite liked them, especially the first two instances. But, the third one is held much longer than the previous two and I feel like there should be something else going on to better fill out the music. Perhaps there could be some sort of shift in the ballerina's position and change in port de bras. It just felt too static, for too long. The final fish dive at the end of the adagio has been retained. Since we only get that one, it does make it seem more special and makes for a very satisfying end. Cornejo blew me away in his variation. It was a true virtuoso tour de force, and I feel as if he's set the gold standard for this variation. 

I'm curious what other changes have been made to the vision and wedding pas de deux based on the new sketches that have been found. I'ts been too long since I've seen the full ballet for me to determine what has been changed. Perhaps others will be able to detect the changes.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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I don't have anything to add about Lane and Cornejo other than to say they were a dream, with stellar technique, artistry, and character embodiment. The cast of secondary roles was excellent last night as well, with standouts including Shevchanko, Devon Teuscher as the Diamond Fairy (so crisp and musical!), Skyler Brandt as the canary fairy in yellow in the prologue (perfect match of dancer to choreography), and Katherine Williams as Princess Florine. 

This was my first time seeing the Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty and I went in expecting it to be a lot less conventional than it was. Overall I really enjoyed it, both as entertainment and as a unique look into dance history. Other than the stylistic differences in the choreography it isn't radically different from NYCB's. I loved the fast, musical footwork -- faster than you usually see at ABT -- and the repeated motif of legs in attitude. There were plenty of legs above 90 degrees. The one thing I really didn't like was the chainé turns on demi-pointe -- didn't add anything to the aesthetic and just looked awkward. I liked the knee-length dresses and thought they "breathed" well on the dancers; I just wish there was a more cohesive color palette overall in Acts I and III. I would also trim a few things for length... notably the mime-centric spinning-wheel scene, the peasants in the beginning of Act II, and probably a couple fairy-tale characters (Cinderella, the guy with the giant head with all of the kids...). Having sooo many wedding guests made the bows at the end of the show go on forever, when all you wanted to see was Lane and Cornejo come out with the audience still there. 

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10 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

 ......probably a couple fairy-tale characters (Cinderella, the guy with the giant head with all of the kids...). ...

Ah, so the little Nijinska & DeValois additions from the 2017 "Aurora's Wedding" are gone, as predicted. We're back to the Cinderella and Tom Thumb/Maneater episodes. Thanks. I'll be there for the 2nd Lane/Cornejo performance on Friday. Cannot wait to see them.

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24 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

The one thing I really didn't like was the chainé turns on demi-pointe -- didn't add anything to the aesthetic and just looked awkward.

I don't love the chaînés on demi-pointe either, and some dancers look better in them than others (but then again, with what step is that not true?). I'm a sucker for good chaînés, and so I'm kind of starving for them by the end of the night — but then there's that moment in the Wedding PDD when Aurora finally does a last diagonal of them on full pointe and it feels so revelatory and so exciting after all the wait! It kind of makes the demi-pointe worth it after all.

Edited by nanushka
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6 hours ago, bingham said:

How were the fairies in the prologue?

Enh. Other than Brandt as Canari, I personally wasn't too excited about any of them, really. Paulina Waski was Sincerity, and although she danced perfectly well I was really noticing (given how much the production's style draws extra attention to them) that she doesn't have very lovely feet. Stephanie Williams was decent as Wheat Flower. Rachel Richardson was probably the weakest as Breadcrumb, with rather heavy legs and feet. April Giangeruso certainly gave Violente her all; it was a bit overly intense for my taste, but I imagine some might have liked it more.

(There were a few substitutions announced before the program, including Keith Roberts for Nancy Raffa as Carabosse; I didn't hear the others that followed and it's possible one might have been a fairy, but I don't think so.)

Edited by nanushka
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I was at last night’s performance too. I had seen the Ratmansky production in June 2016. I compared the playbills and some of the dancers were cast in the same roles: Stephanie Williams as Wheat Flower, Rachel Richardson as Breadcrumb, April Giangeruso as Temperament, Devon Teuscher as Diamond Fairy. 

Before the performance the announcer reeled off several replacements. The only one I heard was Keith Roberts subbing as Carabosse. (His mime was maddeningly fearsome.) I was sure that Bluebird was not danced by Blaine  Hoven, but who danced this role? And who were the other replacements?

My overall impression is that this production was stuffed to the gills, especially the Prologue and Act I. Too many groups of ballerinas to appreciate each group.   Waaay too crowded. But my eye was caught by one corps member, a redhead who danced so beautifully in a group of six in the Prologue. Who was she?

As on my first viewing, the costumes were impressive—so much rich material, sparkle, patterns. Much money was spent on these! But I did not think Bluebird’s costume was flattering, with a huge hip-hugging roll that broke up what should have been a beautiful line as he jumped and leaped.

Sarah and Herman did not disappoint although I liked them better in Manon a couple of weeks ago b/c of the high dramatic arc, which spanned the length of the ballet. But their pas de deux was wonderful—they are perfectly matched—and I was thrilled with Herman's solo. 

Happily, Sarah did not enter the stage in Act I prancing like a goat (see above video). The same steps were very modified, light, airy, nuanced. She was a young girl thrilled at making her entrance into society—so beautiful in her rose costume. As others have said, her rose adagio was just about perfect, and from my center orchestra row F seat I could see she projected calmness and steadiness and most of all grace. Exquisite!

As others have said, the mime in this production was superb, especially Shevchenko as Lilac Fairy. Credit to the coaches. 

But Act I was too long, too overstuffed. I could have done without a couple of the characters in Act III. And I think the opulence of the production occasionally overwhelmed my appreciation of the Petipa choreography. 

I noticed that after Act II quite a few seats in the orchestra were empty, people having had enough. Not sorry I went but for me this production was too over the top. 

 

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2 hours ago, CTballetfan said:

 I was sure that Bluebird was not danced by Blaine  Hoven, but who danced this role? And who were the other replacements?

...

But my eye was caught by one corps member, a redhead who danced so beautifully in a group of six in the Prologue. Who was she?

Blaine Hoven did indeed dance Bluebird. (See below.) I too missed the other announced replacements, though.

I suspect it was Zimmi Coker who caught your eye, as she often has mine in the past few years — and not only due to her striking red hair.

 

Edited by nanushka
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8 hours ago, bingham said:

How were the fairies in the prologue?

And regarding the fairies in Act III, if you consider them fairies, I was really surprised by the degree of sloppiness in spacing, synchronization, and uniformity in how high legs were raised (which is a big focus in this reconstruction) among the sapphire, silver and gold fairies. They were Melanie Hamrick, Courtney Lavine, and I forget the third and unfortunately don't have my program with me. Lavine particularly seemed to lag behind and seem a bit sloppy in her poses. I've always seen this section danced so cleanly and sharply, but it was really off last night. Teuscher, however, was stellar as Diamond. It's true luxury casting to have dancers like her and Shevchenko cast in the role. 

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