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Best of 2002


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The highlights of my year mostly took place from Oct. 23 to 27. During that time I saw five performances by the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center and went backstage to renew acquaintances with Suzanne. I also met Alexandra and got my copy of her book signed. :)

An earlier highlight was my annual July visit to Saratoga Springs, where I had the pleasure of meeting Ballet Alert posters rkoretzky and bobsey. :)

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One of my highlights finished just 2 hours ago! Wind of the Willows, choreographed by William Tuckett and enchantingly danced in the Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House was just a dream! It was so witty and charming! It boasts talents like Anthony Dowell as the Narrator, Adam Cooper, Matthew Hart and Will Kemp and you cannot believe the expressions their faces manage to contort into!

Mayerling by the Royal Ballet. MacMillan's choreography, the pdd were unforgettable. The three casts were fantastic but I think Jonathan Cope was brilliant in it as I never thought he could be and the role of Prince Rudolf just belongs to Johan Kobborg. Alina Cojocaru was the biggest and best surprise as Mary.

Dances Concertantes by the New York City Ballet dancers where Yvonne Borree and Peter Boal in Duo Concertante just took my breath away.

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In no particular order.

Kowroski's thrilling Firebird.

Ananiashvili's Adagio of Symphony in C was a complete revelation for me each time she danced it.

Pavlenko's Nykia and Diamonds.

La Fille Mal Gardee and the Dream.

Kirov's corps :)

I have to say, looking back on it, it was a very, very good year.

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And here I'm still trying to figure out where 2001 went! The only ballets I saw live were from the wings: varied Bejart Ballet Lausanne repertoire and Washington Ballet's Nutcracker. I'm saving my money for the next time the Kirov comes to the Kennedy Center--they had better bring Sleeping Beauty (my favorite ballet, which I still can't believe I missed when it was at the Met) and La Bayadere. So I guess for me, the highlights of 2002 would be seeing Washington Ballet grow and mature very beautifully, and the unforgettable experience of being onstage in Europe, even as a supernumerary, with a very exciting company under an extraordinary director.

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I'll start off with the Kirov Ballet, which this year I am fortunate to have seen many times, in St. Petersburg, London, New York, and earlier this month in Hong Kong. It's been a rewarding year to see more and more ballets from the Kirov's large repertory, and to see some outstanding debuts from their many talented young soloists, e.g. Irina Golub, Leonid Sarafanov.


- the Kirov's reconstructed version of "La Bayadere" which was revelatory.

- The Kirov's glorious performance in their London galas of "Serenade", splendidly led by Natalia Sologub, Irina Golub, and Veronika Part.

And the whole company was always excellent in Balanchine's masterpiece "Jewels".

- Natalia Sologub in everything she danced, she was especially moving in the title role in Alexei Ratmansky's new but uneven production of "Cinderella" premiered in the Mariinsky Festival, and as Masha in the Chemiakin's controversial production of "Nutcracker".

- Diana Vishneva's superlative Giselle in Hong Kong, her Manon and her Rubies in the Mariinsky Festival both partnered by Manuel Legris, and her lyrical Nikiya in New York.

- Andrian Fadeyev in the Mariinsky Festival showing his pure classical style as the Nutcracker Prince, and his stirring performances as Romeo and in "Le Jeune Homme et la Mort". And finally his profoundly moving Albrecht in Hong Kong several weeks ago, and his charismatic "Rubies" soloist.


At Covent Garden I was most impressed by Alina Cojocaru as Tatiana in "Onegin", Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope in Christopher Wheeldon's wonderful new work "Tryst" for the Royal Ballet, and Jonathan Cope and Tamara Rojo in "Mayerling".

I greatly enjoyed the English National Ballet's triple bill including Balanchine's Apollo and Who Cares, and also another triple bill including Mark Morris' delightful work "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes".

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Roberto Bolle and Alessandra Ferri in Romeo and Juliet.

Annonciation danced by La Scala ballet

Vishneva as Aurora

La Scala corps de ballet in Nutcracker this december.

And, from Nureyev gala:

Tamara Rojo as black swan

Eric Vu An in Prelude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Massimo Murru as Petrouchka

Malakhov in Spectre de la rose

Tewsley and Marta Romagna in Apollo

and the clean and noble dancing of Bolle

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Looking back over my notes -

The Kirov's production of Don Quixote for the sheer energy and joy of their character dancing.

Alexandra Ansanelli's Allegro Brillante from the winter season. It was one of those special, singular performances where you were so glad you were lucky enough to be there on the night the magic happened.

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- National Ballet of Canada - the whole company in Cranco's Romeo and Juliet, and Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardée; Aleksandar Antonijevic's interpretations of lead characteres in both these ballets; Chan Hon Goh as Aurora (in Aurora's Wedding) and as Terpsichore in Apollo; Greta Hodgkinson as Nikia (in Kingdom of Shades) and Lise in Fille; Sonia Rodrigez as Juliet.

- Kirov's corps de ballet in La Bayadere and S. Lake;

-Irina Dvorovenko and M. Beloserkovsky in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux;

- An afternoon I spent in NY Public Library for Performing Arts watching (for the first time) Diana Adams, Allegra Kent and Tanaquil Le Clerq :)

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Having seen only a few performances in this year. But I'm so sure I picked the right ones!

It definitely must be the Kirov's new production of La Bayadere, with the interpretations of Vishneva, Zakharova, Fadeyev and Kolb. Also the performance by Acosta and Nunez in Don Quixote. It's a great fun!

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2001 highlights:

Dutch National Ballet in Onegin in Amsterdam - always interesting to see an unfamiliar company.

Ashton's The Dream at ABT

Asanelli in almost everyting at NYCB - she has a bloom now that makes everything special

Whelan, a great artist in her prime

Tuttle in Giselle at ABT - none of her previous performances had prepared me for the completeness of her interpretation.

Elizabeth Parkinson in Movin On, and John Seyla and Keith Roberts

Patrick Corbin in everything he danced in the Taylor season

Merce Cunningham's 50th anniversary

David Gordon's performance in January at Danspace

Being lucky enough to live in NYC, so I can see all this and more!

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Ashton's The Dream (especially) and Fille at ABT -- not perfect, but a darned good start.

"Dances at a Gathering" by San Francisco Ballet (Ken Cen)

Much of what the Suzanne Farrell Ballet performed here; the company is maturing, and Gavin Larsen is on my Dancer to Watch list.

Otherwise, not much of a year for me.

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The Kirov at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, especially Jewels, La Bayadere, Veronika Part in Swan Lake and Solugub as Queen of the Dryads in Don Q.

ABT in Ashton, Murphy and Gomes in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Murphy in 1st mvt Symphony in C at the Met and Murphy/Stiefel in 3rd mvt. in Symphony in C at City Center.

At NYCB, Maria Kowroski and Monique Meunier in Kammermusic No. 2, Kowroski in Agon, Ansanelli in Allegro Brilliante and the Voices of Spring section w/Woetzel in Vienna Waltzes, and maybe my performances of the year - Jenifer Ringer and Nikolaj Hubbe in Who Cares?, Meunier in Cortege Hongrois and Ringer w/Neal in Raymonda Variations.

Peter Boal in Witchel's Equillibrium (my favorite new ballet of 2002, with Wheeldon's Continuim coming in second).

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Ashton's 'The Dream' with Ferri and a surprisingly good Stiefel

Ananiashvilli in 'Symphony in C' and "Offenbach in the Underworld";a fabulous 'Sylvia PDD" with Herrera and Gomes; the emerging talent of David Hallberg; and of course, the Kirov "Bayadere".

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In no particular order:

Dvorovenko's Operetta Star in Offenbach in the Underworld.

Meunier's Cortege Hongrois (that seems like about 100 years ago!).

Pavlenko's Diamonds. And her Rubies and Emeralds.

Ansanelli's Firebird. And her Sugar Plum. And her Allegro Brillante.

Anything with Wendy Whelan.

Ananiashvili/Acosta (remember him?) in Fille. Kent/Acosta in The Dream (ABT did Ashton proud).

The Vishneva/Samadurov Don Q and the Kirov's unflagging energy -- it was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end.

Peter Boal in Midsummer, as always.

Ashley Bouder's Dewdrop (or anytime she really nails something).

Ringer/Hubbe in Who Cares?

Janie Taylor when she's Defying Death; her Dewdrop can be non-stop heart attack, but I like it. She also brought a wild piquancy to the Scherzo in Suite No. 3 with Tom Gold, and Who Cares? with Hubbe.

Last but not least, the Kirov corps de ballet in Swan Lake. They weren't quite All That in La Bayadere, but their Swans more than made up for it.

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Add Jenny Somogyi's performance as Hypollita in Midsummer Night's Dream, simply Taking Over and Clearing the Stage.

Agree with so much of what is written above but must mention and reiterate the Kirov's visit to NY last July.

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ABT' Ashton performances has to be at the top of my list. The miming of the Bottoms was so good--it was wonderful to see young corps boys take over a stage just by standing there. And the Fille of Reyes and Corella, if I have to choose a cast.

And at ABT, Gomes in anything. He is such a complete dancer, he has everything. Stage presence, looks, technique, and generosity. I can't wait for his Oberon next year.

The Kirov corps in Diamonds. An absolute revelation of what that choreography could be.

Somogyi in anything, but especially in Midsummer.

The Diamond Project, because it means that there won't be one in 2003.

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Acosta & Corella & Herrera & Wiles & Murphy& Malakhov & Reyes etc. in the opening night of "Le Corsaire". One unbelievable night of dancing!!

Dan Ulbricht's debut in "Mozartiana"

Ulbricht, Alexandra Ansanelli and Damien Woetzel in the Fall section of "The Four Seasons"

David Hallberg, especially in "Grand Pas Classique"

Albert Evans as Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto in the 2nd Act PdD from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Angel Corella in just about everything at ABT

Albert Evans & Peter Boal in "Red Angels"

Getting to see "Symphony in C" at NYCB for the very first time

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~Erik Bruhn Prize- Screening of documentary "I'm the same, only more", Michele Wiles and David Hallberg in Grand Pas Classique and Manon, Alicia Amatrian and Friedemann Vogel in In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Heather Ogden and Guillaume Cote premiering Dominique Dumais' CollectiveSonataForTwo, Clara Blanco and Gonzalo Garcia in Continuum.

~Romeo and Juliet (I second Saveta, the whole company looked great).

~Fille mal Gardee, after a 10-year absence. Martine Lamy's Lise.

~Apollo (Rex Harrington, Chan Hon Goh, Greta Hodgkinson, Sonia Rodriguez).

~Guillaume Cote and Tina Periera are ones to watch.

~master class taught by Karen Kain, with Ashton's style as a theme.


~Stars of the 21st Century Gala- Marcin Krajewski of Ballet Opera Wiesbaden's solo "Les Bourgeois", Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Belotserkovsky in Tchai pdd, Jamie Tapper and Johan Kobborg in Giselle and Flower Festival, Evelyn Hart and Rex Harrington in Impromptu. Also, witnessing Lucia Lacarra's hyperextension in Light Rain is something I won't forget! I don't know if it actually qualifies as a highlight...

~NYCB in Who Cares?

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NYCB: Ringer's debut in Act II pas in Midsummer was THE single great highlight of 2002 for me. Evans' Puck consistently hits the funny/poignant intersection with incredible accuracy.

ABT: La Wiles. Always Carreno. The bursting into flower of Murphy (especially during City Center season, where each performance seemed to gain in authority over the previous one). Dvorovenko & Beltoserkovsky in 2nd Mvt. Bizet. Kent's wonderfully ditzy Titania. Steifel's incredibly rich and detailed 2nd Sailor (Fancy Free). Also his solo in Harrison tribute. Promise of Hallberg. Finally seeing Misty Copeland on stage.

Kirov: Ayupova in Emeralds. (Had to use green here, right?)

Runner-up: Cojocaru's Giselle.

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