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March 07, 2015


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WOW Haglund! I just discovered your blog and, WOW! Someone who can discuss the artistic legitimacy of a pas de chat vs a saut de chat! I think just started to sob a bit. But lets get down the the real important information, gossip! What's up with Whiteside? Why was he replaced in CA? Injury? Again, WOW! I loved your review(s) of Sleeping Beauty. Looking forward to reading future reviews, and digging deep into your archives.

Hi, Gstavella.

Thanks for stopping by H.H.

We don't know what's up with Whiteside or why he was replaced. Next up for ABT is the Kennedy Center in a couple of weeks. We'll just have to wait and see if his casting holds.

Haglund, just returned from the matinee with Hee Seo and Cory Stearns. Great to see them in person. Seo was so so, Sterns was lovely. HIs attention to his ballerina was inspiring. Nice to see all the 3rd, 4th, 5th casts performing. Lots of nuances (to which you have referred) to get used to. Stunning costumes. Met Ratmansky, which was fun.

Lilac Fairy was Christine Schevchenko. Beautiful carriage, but lacking technically. Probably nerves.

Hi FrmrDancer.

Stearns looked fabulous in the previous production of S.B. opposite Herrera; so, I'm not surprised to hear you say that.

Schevchenko, while an outstanding Diamond, did not strike me as being a potential Lilac Fairy type. Her arms appeared shortish, and while very correct, are not necessarily elegant or lyrical. I see her more as a Kitri. She certainly did sparkle, though.

word is that James Whiteside pulled a calf muscle.

Thanks, Frank. If McKenzie relied on the other capable men in the company as he should, this injury might have been avoided.

So Paloma's Farewell in this SB production has been scuttled. Now her farewell will be an undignified Wednesday matinee of GISELLE...not even one of her better roles, as she is a 'classical tutu' sort of ballerina. What the crap, Haglund?!

"What the crap" is right.

Great blog, just found it today!. I saw the March 4th performance also. Your review describes it perfectly. Gillian combined the 19th century choreography with a whisper of today's technique to produce a beautiful synthesis of the two. She was exquisite. I loved the costumes too, especially the diamond fairy. This performance took my breath away many times. There were moments where I could only think "yes, that's how it should always be," because a step, or a gesture, would fit the music in a way that I have never seen before in Sleeping Beauty.

I had the good fortune to be taught by Paul Petroff of the Ballet Russe in late 1960s. He taught a style very similar to this performance with low retiré, soft rounded arms, and an emphasis on poses. I love much of today's "classical" ballet with it's astounding athleticism, but some things have been lost that Ratmansky brought back in this Sleeping Beauty. Namely elegance, beauty of line, and poses that last long enough to appreciate them. It's true that antique pointe shoes caused limitations that produce some of the effects you mention in your review, but other things were done on purpose due solely to a difference in style. For instance we were taught that arabesque penchée should never exceed 135 degrees because anything higher was considered to be a distortion of line. An ability to remain motionless in a lengthy pose was prized just as much as a soubrette's quick feet. Tastes have changed, but perhaps today's dancers can learn a few things from the old days.

Hi, Swanhild. Thanks for stopping by H.H.

Lucky you to have studied with Petroff. Readers may be interested to know that Petroff was born and trained in Denmark and later Russianized his name from its original Petersen (or possibly Pedersen)when he joined Ballet Russe. Those soft arms, modest retires and articulation of poses that Swanhild speaks of seeing in the Ratmansky SB do indeed remind one of the lovely Danes. Petroff also danced with ABT in the 1940s and was married to ABT's Nana Gollner, who was Tudor's original Medusa in his Undertow.

We are pretty excited to see this new Ratmansky production of Sleeping Beauty on the Met stage. I think that it is "big enough" in all respects (costume, staging, scenery) so that the people in the distant cheap seats will be able to see and really enjoy it. It certainly got a fine reception in Costa Mesa.

Thanks again for finding H.H.

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