Haglund spent the day after Christmas working off the holiday sugar and distilled elements by sitting around and enjoying a high calorie buffet of ballet.
Lauren King's second performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy at NYCB's packed theater was quite polished and was supported responsibly and attentively by Robert Fairchild. They fixed the troublesome step-over turn to arabesque that evolved into a penche as the Cavalier stood close by ready to step in as needed -- a big improvement over last week's performance. Lauren was in glistening, true ballerina form yesterday. It will be a treat next year to see how her SPF develops after a presumed year of major casting. Yesterday she looked ready to leap into the principal roles of Lilac Fairy and Mozartiana.
Expectations were low for last night's dancing tribute to Kennedy Center Honoree Natalia Makarova which was televised on CBS -- not expectations about the dancing, but the camera work and editing. Opening the segment with a walk-on role for a small student from ABT's JKO school to try to remind us that Makarova started out as a young Vaganova student was a stupid idea. The young girl, while very pretty, didn't move like a Vaganova student.
What followed was a vivid Robbins solo from Tiler Peck, an excerpt from Giselle by the still-beyond-wonderful Angel Corella and his partner, Alina Cojocaru, whose feet marred every classical line. It is completely ridiculous, unjustifiable, and hypocritical for ABT to hand Cojocaru a coveted spot in Swan Lake for the spring season while denying it to other homegrown ABT dancers based on some gratuitous insult that they don't have the right shape of legs or strong enough technique. Hypocritical.
The brief excerpt from Romeo and Juliet by Julie Kent and David Hallberg made a startling impact on Haglund. For Julie's final ABT years, she doesn't need to be dancing with people who can easily carry her around the stage through performance after performance. She needs to dance with someone who cannot do that so that it forces her to be less relaxed and more alert to the moment. Age notwithstanding, these two dancers look stunning together – perhaps the best classical match that ABT can offer. It is our loss that they did not come along during the same stages of their careers. It would be nice, however, to see what they might be able to accomplish together for the next year or two.
Hallberg's lack of upper body strength is still inexcusable. He's been recovering from a foot injury for many months. Why hasn't he been focusing on building his upper body strength? There's nothing worse in a dancer than an I'm-as-good-as-I-need-to-be attitude.
Finally, what would a televised dance segment be without fouettes? So, we got Marcelo Gomes in a manege of coupe jetes followed by Veronika Part's fouettes -- fast singles just the way Makarova believes they should be done.
And that comment/insult from Jimmy Kimmel about "… everyone but the people who came to see the ballerina" was despicable. Big apology is in order.
While this may seem cruel, Haglund wishes that Caroline Kennedy would work on her public speaking abilities. She hasn't gotten any better over the years and her speaking doesn't compare favorably with that of the other Kennedys in the public eye, most of whom are known for being charismatic and effective speakers. She's still relatively young, and we have many more years of speeches to go through; so, she should give it the old Kennedy Try and get some tutoring.
Everyone should remember to watch the PBS American Masters program this Friday which will broadcast the fabulous Joffrey documentary.