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March 18, 2017

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I wholeheartedly agree with everything you write about Cornejo's wondrous performance (I also thought of Dudamel when Cornejo made his entrance). He made the show.

Hi, J. It seemed like Herman was really enjoying himself, too. That's always nice to see.

I really, really want to like Hee Seo. She seems like such a lovely person and has lovely lines and that classic ballerina bearing that could lead to greatness.

All the ingredients are there, but I'm having trouble thinking of an ABT principal (past of present) who induces the same kind of boredom I feel when I watch her. Are there any roles at which she excels or adds her own exquisite interpretation? I would genuinely love to see what she can do at her best (I've heard good things when she's paired with Bolle). I was thinking of giving her another chance this spring to see if she's developed as an artist.

Zoot - Unfortunately boredom is a good word for it. I don't know why, but she almost puts me to sleep and I can't remember a single detail about her performances afterwards. I too wish it weren't so - as she's lovely and has technique lacking in certain other principals. But zzzzzzz....

Somewhere along the line, Hee picked up the idea that her main stage goal was to look pretty. As a corps dancer performing soloist roles, she was much more technically ambitious. Then little by little, we observed her bailing out of entrechat six and the like and not hanging on to her pirouettes. But she was rewarded with a principal title anyway.

There is interesting commentary in this month's Dance Europe Magazine in which Maina Gielgud stated that the best way to ensure that professionals will be equipped with all the technical bells and whistles is to encourage them to do all of those tricks as youngsters (before they are too afraid to try as teens because failure might lead to embarrassment). She compared it to learning how to dive off the high board. Teachers who coddle their young students and hold them back from doing the legitimate tricks that they see and admire on YouTube are probably ensuring the development of safe and very dull dancers. Allowing the freedom to try to do these tricks doesn't ever prevent the teacher from insisting on good form.

I recall Hee's early fouettes in which she slightly crossed that front leg and whipped it to a la second while holding the plie until the last moment. They were beautiful, but they're gone now. Maybe they were a vestige from the Cranko School. Perhaps we can point to the ABT emphasis on non-style, non-stylish dancing early on as part of Hee's problem.

Haglund, I did read an interview with Hee some years ago in Pointe Magazine, in which she said that she had been trained in Vaganova technique, and that when she joined ABT it was difficult for her in the beginning because she had to shed her Vaganova training and become more like the ABT dancers, which is what the company was asking of her. So yes, once again, ABT caused a (presumably) beautiful dancer to squash her uniqueness.

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