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Meunier @ City Center

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Monique Meunier was replaced in the gala Tuesday and will not dance the third movement in Symphony in C on Wednesday (Xiomora Reyes will be dancing with Stiefel). It's a shame as I was hoping she'd be able to start fresh with ABT. I hope whatever it keeping her off the stage won't last long.

Meunier is quoted in last week's Time Out New York as being excited to be dancing with a classical company. She told Gia Kourlas, "I guess a part of me always wanted to be a classical ballerina because after I performed Swan Lake (by Martins in 1999), it changed my life. It just felt right. The fact that I was capable of getting through it was very gratifying, but what it did for me spiritually? I'm speechless when I think about it. It definitely took me on another path."

MM explains that she becamse acquanted with Martin van Hamel and when performing at a benefit for Van Hamel's dance center, told the former ABT dancer about her situation at NYCB (not dancing so much) and was told ABT had room for another dancer. MM is working on Myrtha and wants to perform Kitri in Don Q. Hopefully she'll get the chance.

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I'm so happy for the news that Meunier contacted you and that it's only a minor injury because, in the past, her non-appearances, not to say dis-appearances, were always such a mystery. That she has a passionate following among the more serious fans appears very well from these columns. Her performances in PM's Swan Lake in 1999 were indeed mesmerizing and unforgettable.

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it's a shame as I went last night and saw Symphony in C without her, I loved Stanton Welch's piece and of course the cast was great, I don't think the addition of the girl was necessary but anyway, Joaquin De Luz was really standing out and Angel Corella was really good.

Grand Pas Classique. Well Jose Manuel Carreno was suppose to perform and was replaced by David Hallberg, a corp member.

Gillian Murphy perfomed very nicely but didn't seem at ease with the Adagio part which I will blame on the change of partner, but I still think she's not quite righ for the part. David Hallberg has exceptional legs, and feet to die for, but his perfomance was very weak, and I will blame it on the change of casting, I never saw him dance before.

Sylvia Pas de Deux danced by Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomez was a delight and the adagio was flawless, Paloma was great in her variations, Marcelo presence was really nice but the take off of his tour en l'air was surprinsingly bad, he was taking off body facing audience and fifth facing the wings :cool: .

Symphony in C, Monique was replace by Xiomara Reyes and I was extremely disappointed in her performance. And I was disappointed also with the rest of the cast. It was quite bad, the only one in the principal parts that I liked was Michele Wiles, she was dancing the Fourth Movement.

So it was not the best evening for ABT as far as I am concerned, I have seen much much much better, thank god. I f this had been my first time I would think that it is a bad company, and I cannot blame it on the end of a long run, it was only the second night.:(

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I'm glad Ms. Meunier cleared things up and I hope her injury won't sideline her too long. When a dancer is replaced in a program, nobody is more disappointed than the dancer herself. I count myself among those admirers Michael mentions. Her Swan Lake was truely exraordinary. She's a very special dancer,

one that makes people go to mantinees when they don't normally. I hope she's receiving the support she

deserves at ABT.

Again from the TONY article, "It was the happiest time in my professional career," Meunier said of the time she danced Swan Lake. "I knew I could do all the steps, but just to put them together and to be onstage in front of an audience was a rush that I've never felt. I decided that I wanted to become a dancer after I saw Martine van Hamel perform Swan Lake. So it felt as if my dream had come true. After that, nothing was quite the same. I felt like I wasn't being challenged, and I realized I wanted something different out of my ballet career."

On possibly becoming a principal at ABT: "I haven't done these ballets, so why would I be a principal? Being a principal there doesn't mean that you can be a principal here. You've got to learn these ballets and grow into them. I get to do a lot right now, which is what I want; I'm going to be trained, molded and nurtured into, I hope, a principal. I need to be educated. I'm like a sponge right now, and I want to learn it all. It's not that I don't think I'm a ballerina already -- I do. But I go by my gut instinct, which is different. Here, I'll be trained to be a classical ballerina. They're going to polish me up."

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