Cornejo, Jeter, Mearns, Rivera, Hallberg, CC, Somogyi -- it really hurts when some of New York's biggest and best guys can't take the field and play. Sometimes the bench isn't good enough to win and sometimes, like yesterday, it's so good it makes you wonder why those players aren't starters all the time.
Yesterday due to an injury in the afternoon's performance, Herman Cornejo was not able to dance in the evening's performance of Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room. The last minute cast shuffle included Craig Salstein stepping in for Cornejo and Eric Tamm stepping in to dance Salstein's role. Both of these guys gave fantastic performances -- big New York style performances. Haglund was ready to stand up and cheer before the piece was half over. It was another great performance of Tharp's masterpiece and closed the season in high style.
Symphony #9 got another good reading from Veronika Part, Roberto Bolle, Stella Abrera, Sascha Radetsky, and Jared Matthews. The first entrance of Veronika and Roberto always says quite a bit about what is going on in this ballet and points toward the oppression experienced by Shostakovich and the ordinary Russian people during the Stalin era. Once again last night, Veronika expressed horror and fear upon seeing all of the people dancing, knowing full well that what they were doing was forbidden and punishable. But Roberto slowly led her into the merriment and she found herself enjoying the forbidden fun, too, although she was fully aware of the potential consequences for getting caught.
Veronika projected two, sometimes three different emotions simultaneously and was remarkable in her ability to convey the predicament of the times. (Speaking of the predicament of the Times, let's pause to relish in a little ridicule. It's hysterical that Macaulay still hasn't figured out what's going on in this ballet. How many NYT dance critics does it take to change a lightbulb?)
Roberto is very quickly grabbing onto the Ratmansky style and even looked pretty good when dancing ensemble steps. Haglund liked Roberto in this role very much. Stella, Sascha, and Jared repeated their fine performances. Jared added more punctuation to his dancing last night, no doubt still working off the adrenaline from having to step in for Herman at the end of this piece earlier in the afternoon. Stella was simply riveting both dancewise and theatrically. At one point in the ballet she stood halfway into an upstage wing while secretly glaring at the dancers in the middle of the stage. Was she an informer? Oh god, not Stella!
The corps was fantastic as well -- Sean Stewart, Luis Ribagorda, and Zhong-Jing Fang looked especially fine in the choreography. Poor Isadora Loyola hit the floor on both Friday and Saturday nights at seemingly the same points in her brief solo. Haglund saw somebody else slip in almost the same spot during an ensemble section. This choreography drives very quickly and changes direction without warning. It's not practical to install airbags on the front of the dancers; so it's important to get the floor in perfect condition. Besides, Ms. Loyola is always a dancer who Haglund looks for on stage, and he doesn't want to see her go splat on the floor again.
The final evening program also included The Moor's Pavane where Veronika Part's Emilia not only stole the white hanky from Julie Kent's Desdemona but also stole the show from Marcelo Gomes' Othello. Cory Stearns's Iago was almost oily in his scheming manipulation of the other characters. Haglund will definitely be making a trip or two down to Washington in April to see The Moor's Pavane. If this cast holds together, DC is in for a big treat this year.
The final Pump Bump Award of the fall season, a Louboutin trott boot that will set you back $1,245, is bestowed upon Craig Salstein and Eric Tamm for heroically stepping into Tharp's In the Upper Room. They really deserve to be moved into the permanent lineup in these positions: