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July 31, 2016

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Dear Haglund,
Thank you for another wonderful review. I have been a long time admirer of Guillaume Côté, he has inspired me to be a better artist every time I watch him dance. In addition, I have always been looking forwards to reading your reviews, I wish you could replace Mr. Macaulay...
JAD

JAD, thanks much for the comment. I am Côté's fan as well, and it never occurred to me that he would be so great in this type of role.

Haglund, I adored this ballet and your sharp review as well. I too attended the Saturday afternoon performance, along with two friends who are not ballet fans but are professional actors. They admired the staging, the dramaturgy, and how well the streamlined plot worked for the ballet (they both know the play well). They really admired the dancing, which brought such nuanced individuality to the characters. We all loved the Basil Twist stage effects, especially “the bear.” And I was thrilled to see Guillaume Côté dancing again; I remember hearing his career might have been cut short due to his bad knee injury. I do understand your reaction to Wheeldon’s “gimmicky” narrative ballets, but in a very real and practical sense I think they are vitally important for dance companies today. For one, they allow people like me to bring friends & family to see them, people who otherwise shun ballet because it is “dull” and requires additional info. or experience for full appreciation. (No way will anyone sit through ABT’s creaky “Swan Lake” again.) I think these popular new ballets are great for familiarizing a general audience with this non-verbal stage art. I didn’t find the minimal CGI effects in “The Winter’s Tale” out of place or overwhelming. To me, they were just 21st century versions of 19th century scene-change backdrops. I so admire Wheeldon as a choreographer, and the ADs who commission and support his work. Imagination and creative thinking like his are always in short supply.

Thanks, LLF. Glad to hear that you were able to make the performance on Saturday.

I didn't mean to point the finger at Wheeldon or his work when I referenced Instagimmicky art. There are others...🙄

Wheeldon's Cinderella and Alice used a lot of special effects and were choreographically "lite". The Winter's Tale was not "lite" in any way.

Even though I reviewed the Saturday matinee, I also saw Friday evening's performance and Thursday evening's Act I only. There was much to admire on those nights as well, but the Saturday matinee was truly a special time in the theater.

My mistake in the review re crediting Basil Twist with contributing to Wheeldon's Alice. It was Toby Olié, Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington.

I saw the Saturday matinee as well and completely agree with your review. Cote and Rodriguez were fantastic. I couldn't help but think how very strong the entire company looks.

I thought the company looked strong, too. I enjoyed watching Skylar Campbell, Rui Huang, Xiao Nan Yu and all of the dancers very much. It was my mistake not to get tickets to all of the performances. And I must comment on the beautiful, elegant Ms. Kain. Sitting in the orchestra section, she was glowing and looked 35 years old. I happen to know that we are the same age and quite a distance from 35. And 45. And 55.

As a Canadian, I am so proud to read your review of The Winter's Tale. My daughter - who attends the National Ballet School and sees all the company's ballets - loved this ballet best of all this season. We are thrilled New York got a chance to enjoy it, too. It is especially gratifying that Guillaume and Sonia were able to shine. They are consistently wonderful dancers and, as all the young dancers in the school would attest, genuinely lovely people and mentors. Please consider a visit to Toronto to see more of their work.

Thank you so much, Jillska, for your very kind words. This coming NBofC season is especially tempting, and thank you for the invitation.

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