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June 07, 2016

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Thank you for the review. I think I will sit this one out

Its interesting that the promotional material for this ballet pushes only Skylar Brandt and Cassandra Trenery but not a peep regarding Sarah Lane and Maria Kochetkova.

In regards to Cirio and the rest of the dancers that the AD favors, I'm at a loss. He must be blind. He must be Mr. Magoo.

This ABT season should be named the Ratmansky Ballet Company. As a long time subscriber (and former patron) I was hard pressed to find performances not danced by Copeland or "done" (Choregraphy is too strong a word) by Ratmansky. Friends and I are now supporters and subscribers to Pennsylvania Ballet. Kevin...WAKE UP!

How funny I was just thinking the same as SherryD, instead of ABT it should be RBT, either Ratmansky or Russian Ballet Company! Lord knows we have had our fill of Russian guests... As for melponeme_k comment, I too have wondered about the PR missing the other dancers, Lane on the short end of the stick again, and in SB too!! I do wonder if this is, yet again, what is discussed on another Haglund post about "board" donors and sponsors?! As good dancers as Brandt & Trenary may be, Lane has been sidelined all these years to see yet another year of being put on the back burner!! Another interesting thing, it seems Trenary is in most of the shows with Whiteside, and I have to wonder if this has anything to do with her involvement with his own interest: JbDubsMusic?

To be honest, I think that the reason we got the Ratmansky Festival/overload at ABT this season was so that NYCB didn't beat them to the punch with a Ratmansky Night of their own. How embarrassing would that have been for ABT to have their own Artist in Residence celebrated by NYCB before they got to him.

Very interesting observation Haglund! Never thought of that and how true that may be, plus I'm sure their marketing would have done a far better job selling too!

I may be wrong but Martins also seem to nurture his company within better than what is going on at ABT, with less imports and more opportunities to show the rest of his company vs the selected few?!? Maybe he has less board involvement? Same goes for what I have seen of HB too!

A second view of this production last night confirmed the observations in my review above. Throughout much of the evening I was tempted to check my email.

Stella Abrera as the Queen had a livelier pace and more articulation than Veronika the night before whose strong point was her theatrical detailing of the dull choreography. Cassandra Trenary was also very, very good, but her Cockerel was a little less mechanical than Skylar's the night before.

In short, the production needs an editor/distiller to tighten/shorten the ballet and remove Ratmansky's default choreography that he uses way too much.

ABT would have reason to worry if NYCB celebrated Ratmansky—the works he created for them are much better, in fact my favorite of his oeuvre.

In second place would be earlier Bolshoi works like Bolt and The Bright Stream. It could be that both these companies have strong identities for him to mine and reflect, while ABT doesn't. Not sure why his early mastery of story ballets has never been in evidence at ABT.

I started as his fan but the bloom is off the rose. The worst clunker I saw from him was From Foreign Lands for SFB. It didn't come off as an updated homage to 19C character dancing, but a pedestrian chestnut. It made Wheeldon's From the Golden Hour look like a million bucks; my uninitiated friends loved that and merely endured the fusty Ratmansky.

Annie H.,

Part of the problem may be that he is simply too busy with too many commissions to do his best work. Despite the less than happy results this season at ABT (Symposium & Cockerel), I'm very much looking forward to whatever he comes up with for NYCB next season.

I was happy last night to sit through all the repetitive pageantry for the singular opportunity to see Stella dance the role of the Queen of Shemakhan. She was so extraordinary in that role, both in her persuasive acting and her exquisite dancing. When will we have another chance to see Stella being seductive and teasing to such a degree? Her big, beautiful eyes projected across the footlights (admittedly I was in Row B Orchestra but I'll bet they could be seen in the Family Circle) and when she batted her eyelashes and beckoned with an outstretched finger, what Tsar wouldn't swoon with delight? Her dancing was utterly ravishing, and the plasticity of her body and arms created long, extended, gorgeous patterns in the air such as I've never seen before. I've been a fan of Stella for over 10 years and I'm beyond thrilled that she's being given the chance not only to dance the classics but also to strut her spectacular stuff.

Hear, hear!

Since this is mentioned, I have to ask the question about the issue of "too many commissions"! I am not familiar with how contracts work and excuse my ignorance to ask, but if Ratmansky has a contract as "the Resident Artistic" for ABT, shouldn't he put his best efforts and energy there? Or perhaps it is the AD who handle is work best and in this case Martins may be doing a better job!

H.F.,

It was reported by the NYT subsequent to the appointment, that one reason Ratmansky didn't hook up with NYCB was that Martins wanted him on site more than he wanted, and that Ratmansky wanted more freedom to make and set his works for other companies. In retrospect, yes, I would say that Martins knew what he was doing. Even without Ratmansky there in some official capacity, Martins is still getting the choreographer's best work.

The Royal Danish Ballet performed this piece a few years ago when I was in Copenhagen. I hated it. No dancing.
Around the same time, Ratmansky was appearing at Works in Process and never mentioned this work. Hmm...
You are the first reviewer that has accurately evaluated "The Golden Cockerel"

Thank you, Michael.

Thank you for the insight Haglund since I missed the NYT mention, good for Martins indeed as a good director! Maybe ABT should learn something from him?!

Hi Haglund,

I went to Friday night's performance with Stella as the Queen of Shemakhan. I really wanted to like this ballet, but unfortunately, it just wasn't my cup of tea—mainly because there’s very little dancing (I can't imagine what the original version was like before Ratmansky added more dance steps!). I saw three people walk out before the end of the performance, but surprisingly, most of the audience seemed to enjoy it. I heard a lot of positive comments from the people around me, and the Met was pretty full. The scenery is gorgeous—the best thing about the production. Also, I agree with Angelica that Stella was extraordinary!! If you missed Stella in this production, then you missed something special. I'm glad I saw The Golden Cockerel, and I applaud ABT for trying something different. But once was enough for me.

I was also at the Friday performance. I thought that the ballet was awful (Stella's luscious performance of lackluster choreography excepted), and felt sorry for all the hardworking dancers in it. There were a few people around me who were speaking of enjoying it, specifically citing the production design, Stella and Victor Barbee (who I thought had been rather unfortunately costumed to look like the Burger King). However, far more clapped mechanically and briefly, then traded glances around them at both intermission and the close as if to (or actually) ask "What the hell was that?" Never again.

Not a fan of this genre of ballet. Not sure why ABT wasted money on a ballet that so few people would find watchable. I certainly wouldn't buy a ticket for it. Also not a fan of costumes and scenery used as a distraction or in place of actually ballet dancing. But I guess that's why I favor Balanchine so much.

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