After much serious thought, Haglund bailed out of the Facebook IPO today. He wasn't going to buy many shares anyway, so the FB deal will probably still go through without him, in case anyone is worried. He bailed out because this whole Hoodiegate thing with Zuckerberg has really gotten under the skin. How you dress counts in business and in social circles. If you're trying to achieve something, you've got to dress like you want it. Sometimes you dress up; sometimes you dress down. How you dress counts. Just ask Count Albrecht. If he had shown up in front of Giselle tonight in his gold threads (overdressed) or in a hoodie (underdressed), he wouldn't have stood a chance with her. Thank goodness Albrecht was being steered in the right direction by Marcelo Gomes, an impeccable fashion force wherever he goes.
And so ABT opened its week of Giselles at the Met with mostly fine performances and a few magical ones. One goes to see Julie Kent's Giselle to get a glimpse of the classic shapes of those iconic moments in Act II when Giselle as the spirit awakens, forgives Albrecht for his betrayal, and saves him from the Wilis. Her Act I when Giselle cavorts around in the village and ends up going mad and dying is not especially strong, and hasn't been for as long as Haglund remembers, but there have been times when her Act II has been peerless. Her second act is still extraordinary for its lightness, ghostliness, and clarity of classical form, though perhaps overshadowed by the memory of past performances.
The images from Julie's Giselle tonight that Haglund tried to store away safely in memory for easy retrieval later included her arabesque that leaned against Albrecht - a shape that was as classically pure as it gets – from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes; the height of the body above the legs and the curved shape of the back foot in grand jetes; the collection of the feet crossed at the ankles under the skirt; the rapid, skimming entrechats quatre that traveled backwards; and the shape of Giselle's horizontal body as it was held aloft over Albrecht's head. All very lovely tonight.
Marcelo Gomes' Albrecht tonight was utterly charming as he innocently played the game of chase with Giselle in Act 1, and he was suitably tragic in Act II. His technique was wonderfully colored and shaded to convey the depth of his feelings. The series of entrechat sixes suddenly took on new drama as he performed them while accelerating down stage.
Veronika Part's Myrtha is one which causes the men in the audience to plead "Kill me now." Veronika, beautiful tonight as always, looked like she has decided to dance in a lower weight class this season. Haglund recalls hearing during his collegiate nights at Joe's Bar in Iowa City, where Dan Gable regularly spun wisdom on all sorts of subjects, that wrestling in a lower weight class than you usually do can really provide a distinct advantage over the opponent. Veronika's arms and shoulders appeared newly and quite beautifully sculpted tonight. And judging from the extent that Hilarion's face was messed up when he appeared for his final death sentencing before Myrtha, the fitness program seems to have been worth it. Haglund loves all of Veronika's variations as Myrtha, but he so looks forward to the moment when she stalks Albrecht and nearly puts him out of his misery. He is only saved by the bell - the 4:00 am bell, that is. Such deadly force. Such beauty.
Hilarion was danced by Gennadi Saviliev, who will retire at the end of the season. Saviliev's Hilarions have been gold these past few years, and they will be missed a lot. He always gets your sympathy as opposed to trying to be the despicable bad guy as most portray the character these days.
Moyna and Zulma were danced by Isabella Boylston and Yuriko Kajiya. Yuriko's musicality and phrasing make her dancing magical. Her solos were brief but so beautiful. Isabella has such awesome shaped feet and legs, but sadly does not have a classical upper body or expressive arms. Haglund didn't see a Wili, and didn't see a potential Odette either.
The Peasant PdD was sprite-like but lovely as performed by Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin. Their side by side dancing and variations were fantastic, but their partnering in the pirouettes sometimes ended awkwardly. ABT is lucky to have these two gutsy dancers. When a maneuver doesn't meet an optimal result, do they back away? No, they ramp up the energy and attack it again with more determination. Gutsy. The highlight of the Peasant PdD was catching the reaction on Peasant Blaine Hoven's face when Daniil spun a pirouette and caught an unbelievably long balance at the end. Most likely, Blaine will be up to bat in the Peasant PdD this week as well.
The Corps de Ballet was tight and tidy tonight. There are several new faces, all of whom seem to be fitting in quite nicely.
The Pump Bump Award, an Iron Steampunk Stiletto by Tory Burch, is bestowed upon Veronika Part for the deadly beauty of her Myrtha.