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December 27, 2012

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I am in general agreement with you, but I do think it needs to be pointed out that David Hallberg has a history of serious shoulder problems, including several surgeries. Not to say that your point about attitude isn't pertinent, but just to add another dimension to what's likely a more complicated situation.

Hi Nanushka. I was aware of a shoulder injury some time ago, but was not aware of any shoulder surgery or "several surgeries" as you say. If that is the case, it would seem all the more imperative that he build up his strength as opposed to over-emphasizing the length and narrowness of his arm line. There is a difference between a classical ballerina's line and a danseur's line.

I wish they had chosen to have one or two full pdds instead of segments of different ballets strung together as long segment. Also I am more dismayed at Cojocaru's insistence on displaying emotions when she dances Giselle as ghost. Giselle in second act is supposed to belong in another realm, not still the same Giselle the willi should not wear a pained, human emotion on her face like Cojocaru in her portrayals. As for the winged foot, I don't know how much of that is due to her increasingly worsening bunions. Her bunions are so huge they are visible to the audience if they sit close enough. Surprised she is dancing Swan Lake because frankly her technique has been on steep decline recently.

Hi Genna. Agree about Giselle's facial expression. It seems that those upturned eyebrows are a constant in every role that Alina dances.

The Swan Lake casting is so troubling because so many need desperately to dance it and there are so few opportunities. None of the performances should be outsourced to inferior imports such as Cojocaru or, God forbid, Osipova. Sarah Lane should get the spot with Herman, and Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky should get two of the other three openings, though not necessarily together.

Why are they giving Swan Lake to Alina? I think she's sweet and all, but I don't think she's right for Odette/Odile. I saw a youtube vid of her performance with, IIRC, Bocca, and I was underwhelmed.

McKenzie is giving it to Alina so that he can avoid giving it to Sarah Lane. It's all about NOT giving it to a certain dancer, and it's disgraceful casting and management tactics. Sarah had a highly acclaimed debut as Odette/Odile opposite Angel Corella with his company in Spain. There is no excuse for denying her the opportunity - no excuse whatsoever.

What does he have against Sarah? The Black Swan controversy? Accepting Angel's invite? Not the right height?

Well if Sarah isn't the right height for SL, Alina sure as heck isn't either!

Agree! Agree! Not to mention that most would rather see one of their own dancers get the opportunity rather than an import. The performance will sell out quickly whether the Odette is Alina, Sarah, or a paper bag with crayon face. Much of New York's ballet audience has waited impatiently for a decade for Herman Cornejo to dance his first Swan Lake here. There won't be a seat unsold.

"a paper bag with crayon face" Ahahahaha.

Haglund,

First off, Happy Holidays and congratulations on your continued spectacularly nuanced coverage. I consider reading your blog a daily treat and find myself frowning when there is not a new posting.

Spot on observation of Hallberg. As someone who is his age, physical type, and who has suffered shoulder injuries in the past I know how difficult partnering can be. As a principal dancer with ABT, I think it is really a shame that Hallberg has not invested the time into improving his upper body strength. Then again, perhaps he has- though not to the level that is to be expected of an artist of any level with a leading dance company.

Kent is painful for me. I find her lovely though disappointing as it seems that she decided that as long as she is pretty to look at then nothing else need be done. I suppose I mean to say that, 'I think she is resting on her laurels and has been for a while.' I wish something would shake her awake and remind her that she could be a great artist during the time she has left to dance.

Regarding Cojocaru, I am curious about something you wrote. I must admit that I love her interpretation of Giselle. Her specific extreme flexibility and facility borders on the freakish and definitely lends itself to circus trickery. That said, I believe she uses her extremes (both strong and weak) very well in expressing herself and in developing her character in this role. In other roles I find her more than wanting. Cases in point: Kitri, Odette/Odile, and Nikiya. These are not roles at which she excels. Back to my question. In your coverage of Makarova's Kennedy Center Honor performance you wrote, 'Alina Cojocaru, whose feet marred every classical line'. Joan Acocella recently wrote of Cojocaru that she has 'weak feet'- which is to say that two people whose opinions I respect find fault with her feet. I think Cojocaru's feet lovely; not as brilliant as Ferri's or Herrera's but articulate and well shaped. Would you mind explaining what it is about her feet that you find displeasing in the 'classical mold'? I ask because I value your insight and think there is something I could learn.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

-Juan Michael Porter II

I have seen ballets, but I haven't seen one in ten years, but I was still appalled by Jimmy Kimmel's comment. Ballet is not for slouches. It's one of the most demanding, under-rewarded creative pursuits and individual can pursiu, at great physical risk, beyond that of rock stars (except that great musicians write music, which is a top-tier talent). However, in comparison talk show hots, lets get real. Letterman said much about his place in comparison to real artists on his own show after receiving this award. Kimmel, however, seems to think he is in a place to judge all on merit.

Kimmel isn't even in the same league as Letterman, let alone Led Zeppelin, let alone a ballet star like Makarova. It may have been what many were thinking, but for him to express the thought, and call it humor, diminishing a recipient of as esteemed awatd as she got, on a night where she probably was upstaged by others, legitimately or not, just made me think what a really talentless, bitter philistine. I wish Letterman would say something, because I'm sure he wasn't particularly impressed.

Hi Juan! Thanks much for reading H.H.

I understand what you are saying about Julie Kent. In recent years she has pretty much stuck with Gomes and Bolle as partners because they can throw her around without her having to be too involved in the physical process. Because of that, the taller ballerinas who really need the big, strong partners are shortchanged -- like Veronika Part.

The issue with Cojocaru's feet is the shape of the forefoot which is severely squared off with a shoe that looks like a soup can -- due to her bunions which stick out the side of the shoe. Bunions are common among dancers, but hers are particularly bad (and I imagine painful) and mar what should be a classic tapered line. They in effect truncate her line. And while she has to water down technical challenges in classical roles because of her feet, the soup cans allow her to balance endlessly in roles like Sleeping Beauty. But who cares? You and I could balance on those soup cans, too.

Happy New Year, Juan.

Hi Martin! Thanks so much for your astute comments regarding Jimmy Kimmel's faux pas. It might have been forgivable if he had said it off the cuff and followed it with an apology. But clearly, it was rehearsed which means he had to have thought about how it would be insulting to Makarova before he went ahead and read the line off the teleprompter. His nameless reference to Makarova as "the ballerina" was in such poor taste and was meant to belittle both the art form and her. I don't care what time his show comes on after the New Year, I'm not watching.

Happy New Year, Martin!

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