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June 26, 2018

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Victoria Jaiani has always been a favorite of mine with the Joffrey, so I was especially pleased to read your account of her performance with the Houston Ballet. The ballet and hotel (if not the transportation in Houston) sound like a dream!. I experienced all through your review, though would love to see both Houston Ballet and La Colombe d'Or Hotel in person one day. Thank you so much for this review, Haglund!

This is totally off topic but Omg Haglund, just this morning I was having lunch at La Colombe d'Or in Saint-Paul de Vence, Nice- France and tonight I read your review. -J.A.D

J.A.D. -- What?!! 😺 Incredible. I actually had to look up your ISP to see that, yes, indeed, you are in Nice!!!

What a coincidence! I hope your lunch was delicious! And I hope the art was stunning.

Hi, Georgiann.

Jaiani was indeed beautiful. I see that the Joffrey has Wheeldon's Swan Lake on the schedule for this coming October... And that new Anna Karenina looks mighty enticing.

Jealous of your trip! I saw J&Y do the white swan PdD years ago in borrowed costumes and Yuriko in particular was spectacular. I’m not surprised this is a standout role for her.

I remember Jared having some calf issues at ABT that sometimes affected his arabesque - I wonder if that is maybe a chronic issue for him.

Jared and Yuriko are deeply missed here in NY but they are far, far better off in Houston. Your description of Swan Lake is delicious and it sounds like a such beautiful production. The clips I've seen on IG look wondrous. I hope to get to Houston one day to see them perform - in anything!

Greetings, Haglund. I happened to be in Houston on business this past week and caught the Sunday matinee you write about and the Thursday (6/28) performance. I found Welch's choreography for the corps and soloists in act one to be thrilling in its overt athleticism depicting a hypermasculine court, and his employment of multiple Rothbarts and black swans an interesting observation on the proliferation of evil once it has been let loose in the world. And Rothbart's flying leap out the oculus at the end of the Black act is one of the most thrilling exits I've seen in decades of theatre-going. However, given the Manichean nature of "Swan Lake," the last act was too cluttered with black swans juxtaposed to white ones juxtaposed to everything but the kitchen sink: I was not sure on what Welch wanted the audience to focus. Given the rather binary nature of the good vs evil struggle, his last act's rush hour traffic approach to jamming many ideas--as evidenced by the choreography and who was dancing what message--into an act that must be a summation and a resolution was less than ideally impactful. And not giving Rothbart a solo in the Black act made of him more of a plot device than a character.

That said, Sunday's cast of Matthews and Jaiani danced magnificently. What a privilege to have seen Shevchenko in NY on the 20th and Jaiani a few days later. Very different swans but both glorious. The Siegfried Thursday injured himself at the beginning of his first Black act variation and walked off the stage. Unfortunately, the curtain was not brought down, leaving Kajiya to fend for herself. She did what she could until Siegfried reentered, but a performance that had built up a head of steam to power a rocket became tentative and for a while threw her off her game. This is the stuff of every performer's worst screaming nightmare. This exquisite dancer (those feet!!!) recovered by the end of the Black act but the performance, sadly, did not, although Matthews was his typical elegant self in the last act substituting for the injured Siegfried.

I was blown away by the depth of talent in this company and a corps that dances TOGETHER totally on the music. It's not that the ABT corps cannot do this--perhaps the culprit is inadequate rehearsal time--but that often they do not. It's revelatory to see a corps that dances as one. Why can't we have that here?

OMG, Eulalia!

What an unfortunate scene for Yuriko. You must know, however, that saving the day is Jared's habit. When Herman Cornejo suffered an injury nearly at the end of Ratmansky's Symphony No. 9, Jared was thrown on stage to perform the climatic end which involved racing turns a la seconde as the lights went out. Houston is so lucky to have the two of them.

I was glad to read on Yuriko's I-gram that her partner was not seriously injured and will return, but their final performance has been pushed to Sunday.

Thanks so much for your comprehensive review. And I totally agree with you about the Rothbart character and his spectacular exit. The oculus was extraordinary -- Hayden Planetarium quality.

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