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October 26, 2016

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So glad to hear about Sterling Baca. Life can turn on a dime.

Agree 101% with the author!!..❤️

Thanks for your comments, Angelica and Vera.

It so happens that H.H. guest reviewer, "Mr. S" from Australia made a stop in Philadelphia on his annual trek to New York and managed to catch the opening night performance of Cinderella which starred the same cast as we saw: Oksana Maslova and Sterling Baca. Here is what Mr. S wrote in an email to Haglund:

"As it happens, I was in Philadelphia for a week before coming to New York. My week included the opening night of the 2017 Season of the PB and so I had the good fortune to see the opening performance of Cinderella.

The first thing that I noticed was that the audience was thin on the ground, especially for an opening night. I appreciate that the Academy of Music, splendid auditorium that it is, needs a very substantial number of people to fill it. Even so, the view into the auditorium from where I was sitting, in the second parterre box at stage right, was one of lots of vacant seats. I found that mystifying, because the evening's performance was, at least to my amateur eye, a very accomplished one. In hoping, as I very much do, that the PB will go from strength to strength, I admit to a strong bias which can be expressed in two words: Angel Corella. I have seen Mr Corella dance with ABT. I have the ABT video on which he and Paloma Herrera dance the Don Quixote pas de deux, one of the most dazzling ballet performances that I have ever seen. I saw him dance in Madrid a performance of La Bayadere, opposite both Paloma Herrera and Gillian Murphy, a high-powered cast if ever there was one, and a performance to match. I think that it is a crying shame that his imaginative plans for bringing the great art of classical ballet to life in his own country fell apart for want of political and public support. I cannot think that I am alone in hoping that Mr Corella will crown a magnificent career in dancing classical ballet with a matching achievement in passing on, both as director and as occasional choreograper, all the things that he undoubtedly has to teach to a new generation of classical ballet dancers. Bocca di lupo, Mr Corella.

When I read the cast list, I noticed at once the name of Mr Baca. It was familiar to me from last year's ABT Fall Season and I was naturally interested to see what he might make of a real leading role in a different company. He was, in a word, terrific. He looked good and moved well. He had a presence and a stylishness that fitted his role like the metaphorical glove. His partner was Oksana Maslova, whom I had not ever seen. She was perfect in the title role. She is slender and graceful and she has, or at least had in this particular role, a fragility, an air of innocence, that were completely right for the role.

Together , she and Mr Baca made a partnership of which any ballet company would be rightly proud. In the final pas de deux they danced an action that appears also, if memory serves, in the great pas de deux from the final act of Sleeping Beauty: the danseur takes his weight on an extended leg which is bent at right angles at the knee; he holds out an extended right arm which the ballerina uses like a barre; she does a set of spins and then goes with her partner into a dramatic fish dive. The effect, on this particular occasion, was simply electrifying. All in all, a splendid evening of classical dance."

Because of our high regard for Angel, two friends and I subscribed to PA Ballet last year. Making the trip from Toms River, Wood Cliff Lake and Manhattan is a bear for us, but we renewed this year because of what the company is doing. The quality of the dancers, the variety of the ballets and the enthusiasm of Angel at every step of the way should bring many more New York Audience members to Philly. You will not be disappointed.

So glad HH et.al. could see "Cinderella" and other performances of PA Ballet. And SO very much regret my inability to see both the company and its AD at this time (distance - I live in W. Mass., budget, time constraints); but remain hopeful for next year?

Also thanks to "Mr.S" for his post. I, too, was so privileged to see Angel and his ABT guest artist/colleagues dance in Madrid, because I filmed them in rehearsal and performance - and also the other casts- as part of my documentary film. I miss them and Angel very much and hope someday soon to give back to them and audiences the joy they gave me.

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