ABT's production of Ashton's Cinderella opens tonight. Haglund will be seeing the Reyes/Gorak and Murphy/Hallberg casts; so check back later in the week for a blog post. Comments about earlier performances are always welcome here.
Haglund is looking forward to being delighted by the details that the casts capture. Cinderella's Act III manege of pique turns, soutenus, and rapid fire chaines are always a joy to watch when they're done at tempo. I wonder who among the four casts will only do three chaines and who will do five or even six?
Cinderella's little jete combination with her back to the audience in which she releves into passe and does an actual cambre back is a gorgeous moment in her Act III variation. Who among the casts will really do that cambre and who will simply turn the head and throw it back with a smile toward the audience?
It probably comes as no surprise that Haglund adored Anthony Dowell (and still does) and has never gotten over the way that he could employ the exact amount of force that was required to get the job done with beautiful grace while always seeming to have lots in reserve. It was that sense of powerful reserve that helped make him so princely. In his Act III variation, he did double tours followed by an eloquent backward soutenu that seemed so perfect. For some reason, not all men do that backward soutenu these days, but instead pause to recalibrate for the next double tour. That seems so whimpy.
Haglund's disappointment in not being able to see Stella Abrera as Cinderella still stings. She is one of the few ABT ballerinas who possess the classicism and technique needed to dance this role beautifully. Instead, she has been relegated to the Fairy Godmother role – a wand carrying Lilac Fairy – while ABT's aged, declining prima refuses to recognize that her time to dance at the ball has run out. How much more of this do we have to endure?