Let’s start with a few final Nutcrackers.
Haglund caught yesterday’s NYCB matinee which was the second performance for a crew of newbies. Emilie Gerrity as Sugarplum, Taylor Stanley as Her Cavalier, and Ashley Hod as Dewdrop were proof of the remarkable depth of talent in this company and the variety of stage personalities.
Emilie displayed a beautiful, creamy texture in her dancing. Her movement was unhurried but always on the music and glistened with energy. She was immediately likeable without being pushy, as they say in sales. We knew that Taylor Stanley was going to out-cavalier nearly everyone. So handsome with princely authority and graciousness, he showed great confidence in Emilie while always being spot-on with his hands when she needed him. He acquitted his variation well, but could have used a brisker tempo for the turns in a la seconde. Ashley Hod was gorgeous as Dewdrop. Her limbs are extraordinarily long – really, really long – and she seemed to have them well under control. When those legs extended in a saute de chat, they were quite the beautiful sight. None of the difficult tricks were a problem for her, and she tossed them off with a warm, genuine smile.
Unity Phelan and Silas Farley poured spiced brandy into their Hot Chocolate. Alexa Maxwell could have used some in her Coffee although she managed the choreography very well. Claire Von Enck as the main Marzipan Shepherdess got the steps, but didn’t present with the polish and authority that Alina Dronova and Erica Pereira did earlier in the season. One of the highlights of the afternoon was Harrison Coll’s Candy Cane. Haglund is loving this dancer more and more. He seems ready to explode with energy every time he is on stage and has an engaging stage personality. Not everyone who debuted in this role this year cleared the hoop, but Coll made it look easy.
Haglund also caught the second performance of Lauren King and Jared Angle. Teresa Reichlin substituted for Tiler Peck as Dewdrop. Lauren showed great progress in this role, and seemed to relish the freedom that came with having such a fine partner. She held the stage and the attention of the audience magnificently. Her technique was secure, and she danced with more spaciousness than in the past. Jared was quite wonderful as a partner, but oy, those turns in (far from) a la second with a flexed foot were horrendous. As the saying goes, "You grew that leg; now lift it.” It’s really time for Jared to walk away from this particular role.
Erica Pereira and Anthony Huxley shone brilliantly as Sugarplum and Cavalier earlier in the season. Triumphant might be a more appropriate description. First, the pairing of the two dancers was exquisite, if not perfect. She made him all the more handsome; he made her all the more elegant and grownup. Erica built the energy and excitement into her role gradually so that when she hit and held her glorious arabesque balance following the tough promenade in the PdD, the audience went bonkers and roared as the two dancers finished off with a magnificent fishdive that was a bold exclamation point to their very significant artistic statement. Both dazzled in their solos, but together they were magnificent. Haglund hopes to see this pairing a lot more in 2015.
So, 2014 is behind us, and we’re as thankful for that as not.
The highs included:
Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews in Giselle with Houston Ballet, and Yuriko’s moving Prayer variation in one of her final appearances in Coppelia with ABT.
Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in Who Cares.
Our Trumpeter Swan, Veronika Part, as Odette/Odile.
Denis Rodkin as Spartacus.
Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle in the rebirth of Chaconne.
Stella Abrera’s triumphant and exquisitely danced performances with Alex Hammoudi in Ratmansky’s Nutcracker.
Rebecca Krohn, Amar Ramasar, and Abi Stafford in Balanchine’s Nutcracker.
Anthony Huxley in everything he danced.
Most interesting nights at the theater included:
Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition for NYCB.
Edward Watson at the Joyce Theater in The Metamorphosis.
Angelin Preljocaj’s Spectral Evidence at NYCB.
The year’s cinema highlights included:
The Bolshoi’s presentations of Ratmansky’s Lost Illusions, Pierre Lacotte’s phenomenal Marco Spada, and their incredible, unmatched Nutcracker by Grigorovich with Denis Rodkin and Anna Nikulina.
The Royal Ballet’s presentation of Sleeping Beauty with Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae.
Thankful to the internet for:
World Ballet Day in London, Sydney, Moscow, Toronto, and San Francisco.
Veronika Part and Jared Matthews in Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas at the Mariinsky Festival.
A glimpse of Veronika’s Giselle at the Mariinsky Theatre.
A glimpse of Stella Abrera’s Giselle at Ballet Philippines.
The clearest example of best and worst:
Best: all casts of Duo Concertant at NYCB
Worst: all casts of Duo Concertant at ABT
Greatest sadness in ballet in 2014:
Losing Ivan Nagy.
The senseless departures of Yuriko Kajiya, Jared Matthews, Sascha Radetsky, Eric Tamm, and Luis Ribagorda from ABT that followed on the heels of the senseless departures of Roddy Doble, Simone Messmer, Joseph Phillips, and Irina Dvorovenko.
The long injury lay-offs of Ana Sophia Scheller, David Hallberg, and especially Jennie Somogyi.
ABT's continued over-reliance on inferior guest dancers and the marginalization of Sarah Lane and Stella Abrera, who McKenzie undoubtedly hopes he can finally get rid of this year.
Without a doubt, the worst of the worst in 2014 was the relentless propaganda from Misty Copeland with her false claims of victimization from racism, false claims of accomplishments, and substitution of media saturation for the hard work required to build a career honestly. Her twisting of Kevin McKenzie’s testicles to get principal castings that she neither deserved nor could perform better than her more deserving colleagues drove away support from all of ABT – now a disgusting cesspool of corrupt influence and declining artistic standards.
Somehow it's fitting that on a day that the Dow plunged 315 points to close its worst week of 2014, ABT was at the exchange to ring the closing bell and celebrate its Nutcracker. Perhaps it was just a coincidence. Perhaps not.
But there will be celebration today when we watch Sarah Lane and Joe Gorak in performance at BAM and tomorrow when the glorious Stella Abrera debuts as Clara opposite Alex Hammoudi. What we really need, though, is some champagne-glass-smashing good news in the way of promotions for these two women who have long deserved it.
OMG, the Mariinsky has added yet another performance to its BAM visit. Another Cinderella has been added for January 20th. Maybe we will really get to see Pavlenko in the leading role. Wouldn't that be terrific? Pavlenko ...
NYCB is eating up a lot of Haglund's credit line this Nutcracker season. The December 27th performance will feature Lauren King opposite Jared Angle, and the December 28th matinee includes debuts of Ashly Isaacs and Taylor Stanley as Sugarplum and her Cavalier. We wouldn't miss either for the world.
Kiev: The Kiev State Ballet School has refused to accept money raised by Moscow`s Bolshoi Theatre after it emerged the star dancer at a charity gala had supported the annexation of Crimea.
At the Bolshoi last Sunday, some of the world`s leading dancers from Russia, Ukraine and France put on a dazzling performance to raise money for renovations at the Kiev ballet school.
The show was organised by prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, who was born in Ukraine and trained at the school, which she said was in dire need of repair.
. . .
"The Ukrainian artists who participated in the concert appear to not be aware that the Russian dancer S. Zakharova signed a letter supporting the politics of (Russian President) Vladimir Putin in Crimea," wrote the school`s director Ivan Doroshenko in a letter published on the Ministry of Culture`s website on Saturday.
"Otherwise, they would never have agreed to take part in this provocative farce."
. . .
"The money raised during this concert is not comparable to the thousands of dead, the hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of territory, the tens of billions of hryvnias that Ukraine has lost," said Doroshenko, referring to the bloody conflict in the east of the country where the government has been fighting Russia-backed separatists for the past eight months.
"Needless to say, the choreography school of Kiev renounces the `help` of Svetlana Zakharova," he concluded, while accepting that the school was still in need of help for rebuilding work.
The hotly anticipated new Starz series Flesh and Bone starring Ben Daniels, Irina Dvorovenko, and Sascha Radetsky among others has been converted into a "limited series" with a final ending from its original ongoing series status. Oh dear. One reader of the announcement/article in Deadline Hollywood commented, "that’s the nicest “you’re cancelled before you even get on the air” statement I’ve ever heard of...."
Maybe the silver lining in all this is that Ethan Stiefel, the consultant and choreographer, is now free to tackle a great big new job.
This Sunday, October 26th, the season's first live cinema presentation of the Bolshoi Ballet will be transmitted from one end of Balletdom to the other. Grigorovich's famous Legend of Love will star Sveltlana Zakharova and Denis Rodkin. It's a long one – 3 hours 45 minutes – but will surely have all the very entertaining little extras that come at intermission. Go here to find your local movie houses where the cinemacast will be shown.
World Ballet Day coming at you in a few hours
Beginning tonight at 7PM Pacific Daylight Time U.S. (10PM Eastern Daylight Time U.S.), the San Francisco Ballet will begin broadcasting the whole 20 hour shebang on its YouTube channel. What a terrific thing to do for all of us, and we thank San Francisco Ballet very much.
Why not stop by to watch San Francisco Ballet's livestream and afterward send them $5 or $10 with your thanks on their special Kickstarter page. Even if everyone who watches the livestream only sends $1, it will amount to a tidy sum. (Just ask Hillary or POTUS.) Drop a buck or few in the basket.
Here's the schedule:
The Australian Ballet Tue, Sep 30, 7pm (PDT),10pm (EDT)
The Bolshoi Ballet Tue Sep 30, 11pm (PDT), Wed 2am (EDT)
The Royal Ballet Wed Oct 1, 3am (PDT), 6am (EDT)
The National Ballet of Canada Wed Oct 1, 7am (PDT),10am (EDT)
San Francisco Ballet Wed Oct 1, 11am (PDT), 1pm (EDT
Every year in early November, the level of cranky among NYCers increases as about 50,000 really, really, really skinny people descend on the city to run in the New York City Marathon. Thousands of the elite level professional runners make the MB Fashion Week models look like fatties. They make most of the city’s professional ballet dancers look like they could slim down. There’s nothing like a bunch of extra skinnies thrown into a general population already obsessed with weight to ratchet up appearance anxiety.
It’s gets worse, though. You see, these skinnies always seem to be eating. Eating eating eating. Not lettuce and protein shakes, but pasta – pasta heaped with pesto and tomato sauce and plates of potatoes. No "slim-down" diuretics for these folks - nosiree, each one is hydrated enough for five non-runners and has skin that is as clear as a Maldives lagoon.
Then they start running. Running like the average person can only dream about. Running at a high level of physical efficiency with a degree of commitment that is alien to the average person’s understanding.
Of late, the same ones almost always win. African runners with narrow frames, long legs, short torsos, and steely delicate musculature cross the finish line first. They’re usually from Kenya, sometimes Ethiopia.
Every year as Haglund watches the race from some street in Manhattan or Brooklyn, he ponders what it would be like if the Kenyan and Ethiopian ladies would have brought their narrow frames, long legs, short torsos, and steely delicate musculature into a ballet studio at an early age instead of opting to do what their cultures encourage everybody to do: long distance running.
Take a look at these ladies who are running in an Olympic marathon. They are so in tune with one another that they could be four cygnets in Swan Lake. Look at Edna Kiplagat’s legs and shoulders on the far left, and imagine that body in a tutu after a little tutoring in turn-out. If only ….
It’s easy to spot perfect African American ballet bodies on most any street in New York on any given day. You recognize them instantly: naturally lean with narrow frames, light bones, impossibly long legs supporting tiny hips, swan necks. They are mixed in with the ordinary bodies and the many overweight bodies, but they are there. In Haglund’s neighborhood, they may be hanging out on a 9th Avenue corner after school arguing about the latest Beyonce/Jay Z melodrama or trying to buy cigarettes at the 7 Brothers Deli along with their potato chips, pizza, and soda or hanging out around the basketball court on 47th Street. They’re doing what kids of every color everywhere in the city are doing, and they’re not doing ballet. But their black bodies are well-suited for it.
No ballet company in this city can truthfully claim that it has to settle for dumpy bodies just to diversify the culture. And no ballet company should sit on its hands while an ambitious, modestly talented dancer tries to advance her own career by falsely claiming that objections to her lack of classical aptitude are race-based and by distributing sexually provocative images of her bare tits to her minor-aged fan base over the internet.
In Russia, mothers recognize when their young daughters have bodies that might succeed in ballet and they seek out schools. The art form, its aesthetic, and the basic physical requirements are commonly understood within the culture where ballet, opera, and classical music are sources of great national pride. You may recall Veronika Part explaining to David Letterman that when she was born into a family that had no previous dancers, someone looked at her infant legs and pronounced her a future ballerina. There is an awareness within the general population of the aesthetic and an acceptance that children studying ballet is an honorable endeavor. And the preprofessional deselection process starts early with the application of requirements that few can meet.
Here is a chart that spells it out in black and while. (Click on the image to enlarge and clarify.) The Moscow State Academy of Choreography, also known as the Bolshoi Ballet’s official school, employs the following height/weight requirements for Russian students on its website – where this week, incidentally, the school's website is celebrating Montana native and third year student Julian Mackay's achievement at the Istanbul Ballet Festival.
A girl who is 160 cm ( 5’2-1/2”) should weigh 39.6 kilograms (87 lbs). A girl who is 174 cm (5’7”) must weigh 49.8 kilograms (109.79 lbs). There is a tolerance of +/- 1 kilogram. Any girl who weighs over 50 kilograms (110 lbs) is not permitted to participate in Pas de Deux class but is required to attend as an observer. The requirements for boys appear just below those for the girls.
For students from foreign countries, the weight requirements are even more strict. The first chart is from the Academy’s website; the lower chart is the Google translation to English. (Click on each image to enlarge and clarify.) Note that according to the chart in the above illustration, the 5’7” Russian girl could weigh up to 109.79 pounds, but according to the chart below, a 5’7” foreign female student may not weigh more than 103.6 lbs (47 kilograms).
Foreign student requirements (Google translation to English)
There are also 15 pages that detail the medical conditions, congenital conditions, and acquired conditions that make any student unfit for the academy's preprofessional curriculum. Those standards are designed not just to get thin students, but to get students who are natural ectomorphs with narrow frames who are free of physical issues that might impede intense instruction and who may ultimately achieve the exquisite lines that are highly valued in the art form. Such people are present in every culture, and they are who the Bolshoi's feeder-school wants to train.
It’s a different story in America. A little girl is more likely to be enrolled in ballet class to stave off obesity or as a substitute for rigorous sports, to address deportment issues, or as a place to stash the kid after school. Not always but oftentimes, kids end up in their first ballet classes because of negative factors - factors that have nothing to do with the parents valuing the art form – not positive factors. And because schools rely on tuition and not government support, every body – no matter how unsuited to the profession – is welcomed into the ballet class, encouraged to come back, and told they are wonderful so that the flow of money continues.
The result is a vastly different pool of potential aspiring dancers for this country’s professional training programs. You see a wider range of bodies trying to enter classical ballet as a vocation with minds convinced at an early age that if they can whack their ears with a foot or do an inverted leg split, then it shouldn’t matter whether their bodies can achieve classical line. There is quick and easy denial that there exist traits that are bona fide qualifications for succeeding in the ballet profession just like there are traits required for succeeding in the NBA - most notably being tall. And as time passes, the NBA players get taller and taller. In ballet, the legs lengthen, the bodies become leaner and stronger, and the ability to approach classical perfection takes a step closer to reality.
In the past couple of decades, ballet has discovered a treasure trove of great ballet bodies in Japan, China, and Korea where the most common physiques in the cultures are ones that are lean without being attenuated, have necks like swans, excellent physical coordination, and high mental discipline. These dancers are joining American companies in large numbers and also routinely knocking off the white, black, and Latino dancers at competitions to take home the gold. Is it unfair?
The truth is that there are plenty of beautiful bodies of all colors who meet the current aesthetic of professional ballet. The effort by Misty Copeland to convince everyone that her inabilities to achieve that aesthetic and the expected technical level are a function of racism is a load of waste, and the willingness of American Ballet Theatre to let that story run debases the organization and the art form.
Ballet doesn’t need a role model who describes in her book in great detail ordering a muffin from her deli in the morning and then in later pages claims that she doesn’t eat flour and sugar. Ballet doesn’t need a role model who distributes sexually provocative photos to minors. Ballet doesn’t need a role model who makes false claims of racism. Ballet doesn’t need a role model who trashes her own mother in order to make her story more colorful and marketable.
In her book, Misty derided Swan Lake for having a so-called “white act” that she sought to twist into a for-white-people-only act. What will she claim about Act III, the Black Swan Act, when in a few weeks she adds her name to the few major black ballerinas who have already danced the role? That the 32 fouettes are a white thing; so she doesn’t need to do them? Maybe she and ABT are counting on the friendly Aussie audience not to notice and especially not to notice the more competent ballerinas who are not starring in Swan Lake in order to make room for Misty. What an embarrassment to this nation ABT has become.
When the Bolshoi Ballet last brought Spartacus to the Metropolitan Opera House in July 2005, they draped Lincoln Center with billboard-sized hanging posters that were fierce red, evil black, and conquering gold. There was no mistaking who was in town.
During that same month, insurgents were continuing to rise up in Iraq and had just invaded the London transit system killing scores of innocents in retaliation for Britain’s presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Insurgents thousands of miles away had us all thinking about our own safety.
Skip forward to 2014 – the Bolshoi Ballet brought no big red hanging posters to Lincoln Center with their Spartacus. Instead, a modest sidewalk poster outside the theater featured the company's one American, a tall cool blond in a cool blue scene from Swan Lake. For this visit, it may have been a little risky to highlight any current connection of Russia to insurgents when the townspeople were unlikely to be empathetic. It isn’t very pretty what a town without pity can do, wailed Gene Pitney.
But Saturday night, Yuri Grigorovich’s production had us rooting for both the Thracian gladiator and the Roman Republic, because each side danced just as magnificently as the other and they frequently did the same steps. Most often in ballets that we see in New York, we are accustomed to the women boring us with repetitive steps, such as the ubiquitous tombe, pas de bourree, glissade (or worse, petit temps de fleche), saut de chat in Balanchine’s work. In Spartacus, the major corps work was not performed by leaf-light ladies in pink tights who adorned the stage perimeter but by sweaty, handsome hunks with raging testosterone who were holding sharp weapons. It was hard not to pay close attention to what they were doing – over and over again.
Denis Rodkin, fairly new to the title role, gave a superb, intensely dramatic, utterly convincing performance. His "chain dance" during Act I conveyed the magnitude of his despair and desperation so well that Haglund completely forgot that he was watching a ballet rather than listening to someone’s story. At the end of Act I when Rodkin's Spartacus incited revolt among his warriors and they all marched to the front edge of the stage with their fists and weapons raised – right then and there – Haglund was ready to sign up with the insurgency. Just slap a Callaway hybrid sword with graphite shaft in his palm and he’d help chase Crassus down hole after hole. Dare we say, there were not many in the audience who wouldn’t have followed Rodkin wherever he wanted to lead them.
Not like the well-known squatty Spartacuses (early Vasiliev and current Vasiliev) or the impossibly virile, meaty Spartacus of Irek Mukhamedov, Rodkin possesses the lean elegance and broad shoulders of an NFL wide receiver. His high flying, space devouring grand jetes suggested that he would give Jerry Rice (pre-DWTS) a run for his money.
Rodkin stunned with his partnering power and passion. Haglund had seen a brief video clip of his debut in the role last year during which the dramatic, strength-sapping one-arm lift was carefully steadied with the second arm. In Saturday’s performance, however, caution was replaced with steely resolve and Superman strength. His power came from the lightening fast, efficient coordination that has been a trademark of Bolshoi lifts since the early Grigorovich days. When Crassus’ army finally caught this Spartacus and dispatched him, the swords hurt us all. This was a Spartacus as gripping as those seen here nine years earlier in the Bolshoi’s incredible performances at the Met Opera House.
Maria Vinogradova’s Phrygia, also newly minted a year ago, is a dancer of expansive, exquisite harmony and beauty. Who thought that an elbow and wrist broken over the top of the head could convey such sadness and passion? While the repetitiveness of some of the men’s choreography brought boredom, Haglund never got tired of watching this Phrygia’s high developpe battements a la second that fell forward into deep battement attitudes with the back leg. Her bourrees in her Act III solo matched the lightness and sweetness of the flute’s notes while her generous port de bras opened up to reveal the passion in her heart. What a beauty and what sincerity in her character.
Vladislav Lantratov as Crassus had fabulous moments of fierce dancing but wasn’t always convincing as a ruthless Roman. That may have contributed to the conflicting loyalties one felt when watching this cast. Both Spartacus and Crassus had characteristics that we liked and feared. It was thrilling to watch from a safe distance as they faced off dramatically, and yet, we didn’t want to see either one lose. When dancing with his Aegina, Ekaterina Krysanova, Lantratov’s Crassus turned into a puppy, eager to receive what Aegina offered instead of taking it from her as one would expect an ego-driven Crassus to do. But his dancing was superb with especially admirable grand jetes in which the torso was straight and high off the legs.
Ekaterina Krysanova was a seductive and entitled Aegina who just needed to show more ruthless feminine ambition. Her portrayal was more Rubies tall girl than Roman courtesan, although the personality types do overlap in places. One couldn’t quibble with her dancing, however. Extraordinary length, flexibility, and physical power were on display.
What a surprise it was to see that the New York State Theater stage could accommodate a Bolshoi production of Spartacus – maybe not as impressively as the Met stage, but there was plenty of room for the dancers to power through this remarkable production. There is nothing schlocky about this Spartacus - a description that some tend to throw around. It is a huge undertaking of a grand story that requires a sustainable high level of physical and dramatic energy that few companies can muster. It is a thrilling ballet. Here’s hoping that the Bolshoi brings it to us again soon, but accompanied by Marco Spada and some more recent acquisitions.
The H.H. Pump Bump Award, a Gladiator sandal with protective shin guard, is bestowed upon Denis Rodkin (who one confused but very excited audience member kept referring to as Dennis Rodman) for his gripping portrayal of Spartacus.
Tuesday night’s Playbill cover looked more like an issue of the quarterly publication, Ballet Review, with its classic black and white photo of Maria Alexandrova as Kitri. Here the emphatic beauty of the exact performance moment and the linear harmony within the artist’s life-filled pose were exclaimed without the overpowering and distracting effects of the red in Kitri’s dress. This is an artist who we have held in high esteem for a long time, the Bolshoi's photo conveyed. Alexandrova, who is in her 17th year with the Bolshoi, is one of three current principals who hold the honorary title People's Artist of Russia - the others being Anna Antonicheva and Sveltlana Zakharova.
Even though Alexandrova’s grand allegro was not as exceptional as it would have been had the dancer been given several more months of recovery from her major Achilles injury, her overall performance was more than enjoyable for its sassy, comedic, feminine interpretation of Kitri and the masterful use of music that included some stunning arabesque balances. She has been dancing the role of Kitri for 14 years, and yet, the freshness and joy of her interpretation were apparent. It’s been a while since Haglund has seen a Bolshoi Ballet performance of Don Quixote that didn’t rely on circus ponyism – and what a relief it was.
Alexandrova’s Basilio, Vladislav Lantratov, has been dancing the role for about three years. He comes by Romantic grace and form naturally whereas being a spunky barber is more of a challenge. He was a strong and reliable partner for Alexandrova, and his masterful skill in several one-armed lifts was impressive. What made Haglund sit up straight, however, was a two-handed overhead lift followed by a fish dive in which Kitri switched direction 180 degrees as Lantratov tossed her into the perfect fish position. She was facing left in the air over his head, and suddenly she was facing right over his knee. With no safety net. Oh, probably Alexandrova’s own fouette coordination had something to do with the spectacular effect of the move, but let’s give this one to Lantratov.
Olga Smirnova as Queen of the Dryads was quite the beautiful example of Vaganova schooling in her upper body, but didn’t convey the Bolshoi tradition. The difference between her approach and Alexandrova’s Bolshoi authenticity could not have been made more clear than when the Dryad Queen tried to follow Kitri down a diagonal of arabesques during Act II. Each dancer was individually lovely, but together they were like mixing vodka with red wine – each immensely enjoyable in a glass, but not as a cocktail. One could imagine Olga’s Dryad Queen following the Mariinsky's Tereshkina down Kitri's diagonal, but here, she looked out of place – beautifully out of place, though. No doubt about it.
Denis Rodkin and Oxana Sharova smoldered as Espada and Mercedes – the fierceness of his dancing and character were unlike any of the hot but gentlemanly Espadas who we customarily see in this town. Sharova, of the youthful lumbar vertebrae and dazzling smile, easily found the sultriness in those dramatic backbends.
The character artists always carry the Bolshoi Ballet’s Don Quixote as much as the principal dancers. Alexander Petukhov as Sancho Panza, Denis Savin as Gamache, and Alexei Loparevich as Don Quixote have long been associated with their roles and were as superb as expected. Kristina Karasyova as the Gypsy created her own dramatic and compelling story ballet in a few short moments. She told us her own fortune, or rather her own misfortune, with extraordinary passion and sweeping Graham-like floor work.
The choreography for Cupid was more minor than one would have liked, but it was well-danced by Yulia Lunkina. The soloists in the Act III Grand Pas, Maria Vonogradova and Ana Turazashvili, each displayed beautiful length and grace in their variations and when dancing together.
The H.H. Pump Bump Award is bestowed upon Maria Alexandrova with our thanks for making the trip to New York even though she probably shouldn’t have been taxing her Achilles tendon in Don Quixote quite yet. We’ve had a special Lanvin Kitri flat custom-made for her since we think it's inadvisable for her to flaunt around in stilettos for a few more months.