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ABT 2020 Giselle D.C.


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Lane and Cornejo are both professionals. Clearly something had gone down last year between them but they still danced Manon, SB and Black Swan together. They are not cast together currently, but I doubt they'd outright refuse to dance together if injury occurred. Lane did rehearse Apollo for Cornejo's anniversary. 

It logistically makes more sense for Brandt to fill in, rather than have Lane dance a grueling role in back to back performances. Unless the casting was made that way? So that Brandt could potentially fill in for Copeland? I wouldn't be surprised if Trenary/Brandt become Copeland's new understudies, especially when she dances with Cornejo. But I'm still holding out hope that one day Lane and Cornejo will dance together again. 

Of course, I want Lane to have her own Swan Lake. But clearly the AD has no intention of giving it to her. I hate to say it, but being Copeland's understudy might be the only thing that gives Lane more than her currently scheduled three shows this spring. As Trenary and Brandt have both not danced Swan Lake, it makes sense that Lane would remain Copeland's O/O understudy. 

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4 hours ago, Lena C. said:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8iCPFEjU_H/?igshid=1iqgx2qny77ny

But...didn't Copeland do the exact opposite when she had Lane step in to do Black Swan for her? Why not "pass the baton" to Lane? This just kind of feels disingenuous to me. 

Lane was promoted to principal the same year Copeland was [edited to add that Laurel corrects me below saying they became soloists at the same time and Lane a principal two years later] and is the same institutional generation; In fact, my memory [still] is that Lane also danced a number of principal roles (eg Theme and Variations, Aurora) before Copland started dancing principal roles. If Copeland were ever to describe herself as "passing a baton" to Lane, then perhaps people would find it a bit patronizing or inappropriate. Brandt is still a soloist and this is her first Giselle. She's a different institutional generation.

I infer that what Copeland was doing with her Swan Lake was trying to split the difference between not disappointing her fans--or any audience members who had bought tickets to see her--and not dancing a grueling role when ill. Two different ballerinas in Swan Lake? It wouldn't be my favorite way to see the ballet, but it is also not unheard of in ballet history for two different ballerinas to dance Odette/Odile.  Giselle...not as plausible, though I know dancers have been replaced mid-performance when injured. And who knows?  Given the criticism Copeland received for the Swan Lake "split" performance, perhaps she wouldn't do that again either. (By the by, I was a mad Kirkland fan who made some sacrifices to see her dance and it was crushing when she cancelled.) 

I think Copeland's post is a generous one that, among other things, publicizes Brandt's debut--which I very much doubt Brandt objects to having done.  Of course a public Instagram page is also a performance of sorts for the public: all of these pages and postings--whatever the topic--are also "self-promotion" ... including Brandt's Instagram.  Allowing for that context--I think this was nice. I also hope Copeland is back to dancing soon.

Edited by Drew
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2 hours ago, Drew said:

Lane was promoted to principal the same year Copeland was and is the same institutional generation or only a little younger

Lane and Copeland were part of a group of five who were promoted to soloist level at the same time (the others were Kajiya, Matthews and Boone), in 2007.  Copeland was promoted to principal in 2015, two years before Lane.

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45 minutes ago, laurel said:

Lane and Copeland were part of a group of five who were promoted to soloist level at the same time (the others were Kajiya, Matthews and Boone), in 2007.  Copeland was promoted to principal in 2015, two years before Lane.

Thank you....I mis-remembered the order of promotions —but still think the phrase ‘pass the baton’ applies to Brandt in a way it would not to Lane.

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

Misty brings in people who wouldn’t otherwise go to the ballet at all, I think that’s what she’s referring to.

She also brings in ballet fans who buy tickets to see her, just as people buy tickets to see Lane, just like people buy tickets to see Cornejo, just like people who buy tickets to see their favorites.

And when people buy tickets to see or hear anyone, and that anyone cancels, they can be deeply disappointed, regardless of the legal fine print, and regardless of the quality of person subbing in.

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1 minute ago, Helene said:

And when people buy tickets to see or hear anyone, and that anyone cancels, they can be deeply disappointed, regardless of the legal fine print, and regardless of the quality of person subbing in.

Yes, and I think Copeland’s post could have the effect of making some of those disappointed fans feel a bit better about the (I suspect excellent) performance they saw.

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I was at the show last night. Hesitated to post because my technical knowledge is far below the group (learning a lot!) but I know it was a big moment, so I will share that from my perspective it was a beautiful performance. Would never have guessed it was a debut performance, under pressure! 
 

Skylar’s first act Giselle was I think natural Skylar—fun, light and playful. Until it wasn’t of course...her mad scene broke my heart. 
 

And that dramatic turn carried over to the second act beautifully. Strong, nuanced, not over the top. I never wanted it to end!

 

Partnering and chemistry felt spot on. Lifts were strong. I think I would have felt nervous if it was anyone other than Herman. What a strong partner to lean on. Literally ☺️
 

I will mention that she had one slip, pretty early in act one, only to say she recovered so quickly and gracefully. I was afraid it would throw her off, make her hesitate but I don’t think it did at all.

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

Yes, and I think Copeland’s post could have the effect of making some of those disappointed fans feel a bit better about the (I suspect excellent) performance they saw.

If they are coming only to see a public figure named Misty Copeland, then I'm not sure any other person who takes the role would diminish their disappointment, regardless of how wonderful the performance was. 

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

If they are coming only to see a public figure named Misty Copeland, then I'm not sure any other person who takes the role would diminish their disappointment, regardless of how wonderful the performance was. 

That seems to suggest that Copeland's fans in general have no capacity to distinguish a great performance from a not-so-great one. Many of them may love Copeland first and foremost and only have a secondary interest in or knowledge of ballet more generally, but I think even a novice audience member can be impressed (and therefore have their disappointment at least lessened) by a great performance.

I am not a fan of Copeland, and I have certainly been critical of her at times for a number of reasons, but I think what she says to her fans in a situation like this matters, and I think what she said in her post was pretty good.

Edited by nanushka
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Just now, Leah said:

During a performance of the Jerome Robbins festival at NYCB a few years ago two young women became very angry when they saw Copeland was not performing. The revelation that there were two New York companies did not assuage them and they left after the first ballet.

At our local company someone left the performance of The Little Mermaid because they thought it would be a musical based on the Disney movie 🙄. Some people are just completely clueless.

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5 minutes ago, Leah said:

During a performance of the Jerome Robbins festival at NYCB a few years ago two young women became very angry when they saw Copeland was not performing. The revelation that there were two New York companies did not assuage them and they left after the first ballet.

It’s obviously not going to work equally well for everyone, and I’m sure Copeland is not the only celebrity performer who has some fans who will say or do stupid things.

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I have experienced some of the rudest audience behavior at Copeland's shows, from people who are surely only there to see her -- texting, bringing children who are too young to be there (including screaming babies!), talking, cheering like they're at a concert. This hasn't happened at any of the countless other ballet performances I've attended at ABT or NYCB, or at least it hasn't been as bad. I like Copeland's dancing in modern/contemporary ballet, and I'm sure she has introduced plenty of respectful, appreciative people to the art of ballet, but let's be honest -- her shows sell out because people are there to see a celebrity. I avoid them at all costs nowadays.

Agree that her posts about Brandt were kind and gracious; she has 1.8 million Instagram followers so that's a lot of visibility for her less-famous colleague. 

 

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1 hour ago, JuliaJ said:

I have experienced some of the rudest audience behavior at Copeland's shows, from people who are surely only there to see her -- texting, bringing children who are too young to be there (including screaming babies!), talking, cheering like they're at a concert

This is what we used to complain about, maybe sans babies, when Russian companies would visit and Russian-speaking fans from the boroughs would attend.  Or as a friend who was working in Eastern Europe once said, it's only considered impolite to make an outgoing phone call during a film.

I found all off the clapping in the middle of variations during the recent Ratmansky Giselle at the Bolshoi Ballet disconcerting, disruptive, and mood-shattering.

Many people who showed up at the Balanchine Don Quixote expecting Minkus were disappointed and angry and left at the first intermission they could.  And that was despite all of the mainstream media previews and warnings, when newspapers devoted time and space to dance coverage.

I remember when I first was deep into opera as a tween.  A friend's dad would drive us in ,drop us off, work in his lab, and pick us up when it was over.  I gave her a list of potential operas: I wanted to see Price and Corelli in Il Trovatore, Birgit Nilsson in Turandot, Renata Tebaldi in Tosca, etc. etc.  all based on recordings I liked.  She responded, first, you haven't looked at the rep list for the season, and second, even if they're performing that opera, you have to look at the casts, because someone else might be singing.  So I get it: even if people showed up to ABT, it's not like Broadway where the same people are doing the run, aside from an understudy matinee, and even in short runs of opera, where the same cast might be doing all but a cover performance. If a rock band cancels a tour, you get a refund. 

People are trained in the conventions and expectations of whatever performance mode they know, and they bring that to the next one.  

And there are still people who have gone for years and douse themselves in perfume and talk during the overture and jangle bracelets and wear updos, etc.

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2 hours ago, Becki Lee said:

I was at the show last night. Hesitated to post because my technical knowledge is far below the group (learning a lot!) but I know it was a big moment, so I will share that from my perspective it was a beautiful performance. Would never have guessed it was a debut performance, under pressure! 
 

Skylar’s first act Giselle was I think natural Skylar—fun, light and playful. Until it wasn’t of course...her mad scene broke my heart. 
 

And that dramatic turn carried over to the second act beautifully. Strong, nuanced, not over the top. I never wanted it to end!

 

Partnering and chemistry felt spot on. Lifts were strong. I think I would have felt nervous if it was anyone other than Herman. What a strong partner to lean on. Literally ☺️
 

I will mention that she had one slip, pretty early in act one, only to say she recovered so quickly and gracefully. I was afraid it would throw her off, make her hesitate but I don’t think it did at all.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Becki. Don't worry, I'm always hesitant to post my own thoughts here as a relatively new ballet fan. It can be quite intimidating. So glad to read your positive review of last night. Cornejo is one of the best, most secure partners in my opinion. Right up there with Gomes. I wish Brandt and Cornejo were performing Giselle this Spring. I really enjoy their partnership. 

Interested to hear anyone's thoughts about Boylston and Bell tonight. They didn't wow me with their last minute SB last spring. But hopefully with more rehearsal time they've improved their chemistry.  (I suppose Bell's promotion this spring is a foregone conclusion.) 

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We went to last night's performance when the website announced Brandt would be dancing. Plenty of Copeland fans were queueing for ticket refunds, but many did stay, and we spoke to several who said they were glad they stayed.

Brandt was very well-rehearsed, and especially good in the second act. It was hard to believe this was a debut. She may have been a tad conservative in Act 1, as you had the feeling she could have sailed around in multiple turns, especially the attitude turns in her variation, but she kept it clean and under control.  She did have some nice sustained balances.  Her technique was rock solid. 

The mad scene was involving and clearly acted. 

As good as the first act was, we preferred her in Act 2.  She was light, lyrical, delicate, and very expressive. Her variation was clean and she did not fudge any difficult moments. Beautifully held extensions, nothing wobbly.

Herman Cornejo did not do the entrechat six in his variation that others did,  but two sets of brises from the diagonal, and some not-memorable jumps (?) inbetween.  He finished with a solid double pirouette.  Partnering strong and attentive, and he has a great presence still. He just didn't do much of the wow stuff.  

The audience cheered them both during the curtain calls.  

 

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4 minutes ago, kika said:

Plenty of Copeland fans were queueing for ticket refunds...

Wait, refunds? Were they actually giving them?

Thanks for the reports, @kika and @Becki Lee. How was the audience response to Brandt? I hope it wasn’t at all muted by the cast change.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

I found all off the clapping in the middle of variations during the recent Ratmansky Giselle at the Bolshoi Ballet disconcerting, disruptive, and mood-shattering.

Oh lord, yes. Mood-shattering doesn't begin to describe it. You would probably scream inwardly at the entrance applause for the second-movement ballerina in Symphony in C, which drowns out the oboe melody. :pinch: Muscovite claqueurs may attend the ballet virtually every night and even know their stuff, but their behavior is every bit as disruptive as YAGP-style whooping and hollering.

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Nanushka I cannot tell you whether anyone did in fact get a refund, but plenty were asking for their money back.  I don't know what the official policy is about refunds.

The audience applauded Brandt on her first entrance, and during the final curtain calls there was a standing ovation and enthusiastic cheering. I would not say there was anything muted about the response. It was a very very good performance.

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In his performance with Lane, Simkin did an impressively clean and high set of entrechat six in Act 2.  Incredible technique and endurance, and effective in that he was all-out dancing to death.

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1 hour ago, kika said:

 

Herman Cornejo did not do the entrechat six in his variation that others did,  but two sets of brises from the diagonal,....

 

That is a traditional version —you probably know this, but maybe not everyone does—and what Baryshnikov used to do to tremendous effect. For a while at ABT that is all I saw. (For example, I saw Corella do it that way —though less effectively than Baryshnikov.)

 

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2 hours ago, kika said:

Nanushka I cannot tell you whether anyone did in fact get a refund, but plenty were asking for their money back.  I don't know what the official policy is about refunds.

The audience applauded Brandt on her first entrance, and during the final curtain calls there was a standing ovation and enthusiastic cheering. I would not say there was anything muted about the response. It was a very very good performance.

The Kennedy Center was giving refunds. I suppose that this was the right thing to do given that they charged higher prices for Ms. Copeland's scheduled performance than for other shows. There were quite a few people at the ticket window to get refunds, so that if I had wanted to pay the extra $ for a ticket for last night I would have missed at least the first 10 minutes (instead, I went to a rather bizarrely - and IMHO not very effectively -staged rendition of Mozart's "The Clemency of Titus" - it did have dancers in it, though they were distracting and annoying, spending most of the time pretending to fight with each other).

There are people in the DC area who only go to a ballet if Misty Copeland is in it. Or only go to a dance performance if it's the Alvin Ailey company. But the audiences for the National Ballet of Canada performances featured an unusually large (and vocal) percentage of Canadians and Canadian-Americans. Audiences at performances by Korean companies have been largely Asian and Asian-American.

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12 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

The Kennedy Center was giving refunds. I suppose that this was the right thing to do given that they charged higher prices for Ms. Copeland's scheduled performance than for other shows.

I’m quite surprised. ABT at the Met (and also at the Koch, I believe) does not refund for cast changes, no matter how jacked up the prices may have been for particular performers.

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