Enjoy the first episode of Flesh and Bone for 24 hours on EW at this link:
Enjoy the first episode of Flesh and Bone for 24 hours on EW at this link:
Sunday morning, Haglund snagged the last available senior fare ticket on the Corella Express out of Penn Station bound for Philly. A little over an hour later the train's tailhooks caught the arresting cables while going about 150 mph as we accelerated into the 30 Street Station. You see, acceleration is the only thing that the Corella Express does. No brakes. No downshift. And certainly no drogue parachute on the back of the last car. The Corella Express is engineered to accelerate. Period.
There was enough time to wander around beautiful Philadelphia and have a bite of lunch before heading over to the majestic Academy of Music which is one of the grandest, oldest opera houses in the United States. Haglund was there to see Angel Corella’s Pennsylvania Ballet wind up its fall season with a program entitled Speed & Precision. On the bill was Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, and Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse – all of it danced to a huge live orchestra whose music was rich and vibrant.
McGregor is not Haglund’s cup of tea. So, he will lightly skip over Chroma and only say that the content was the same as most everything else McGregor has done: an amalgam of cabaret kicks and slithering, gymnastics, joint snapping and yanking – all carried by forceful lighting and fab music by White Stripes and Joby Talbot. The Pennsylvania Ballet dancers managed all of it with great spirit and energy. Chroma didn’t tax the artists' dance or theatrical skills, only their cartilage and ligaments.
The architecture of Concerto Barocco, led by Lillian Di Piazza, Marria Cosentino and James Ihde, revealed strong symmetries, vivid details, and even some new discoveries. The eight women in the corps de ballet incorporated the use of their heads and eyes into their epaulement with great clarity and uniformity. There was a striking moment early on when all of a sudden all of the women turned their heads toward the audience. Haglund had never noticed that before, possibly because he mostly sits in the cheap seats in his home theater where NYCB performs the ballet. Whatever the reason, that particular moment was a very pleasing, stylish detail that he’ll look for from now on. The Repetiteur for Concerto Barocco is Kyra Nichols. In her more than three decades at NYCB, she logged plenty of performances of each ballerina's role. How nice it was to see the ballet as she remembers it. There were some parts which seemed demure if compared to how NYCB dances it, but overall the performance was quite stunning.
The audience loved, loved, loved Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse. What’s not to love? It is set to Michael Nyman’s driving score MGV: Musique à Grande Vitesse (translation: high speed music) that was composed for the ceremonial opening of the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse - high speed train) corridor between Paris and Lille. It is one of the fastest trains in the world, streaming through the French countryside at 190 mph - even faster than the Corella Express.
The leotard costumes by Jean-Marc Puissant revealed the dancers' sleek power as they tore through the fast curves of Wheeldon’s high speed choreography. The imaginative scenery included ribbons of gray metal road that ran toward the back of the stage and suddenly stopped in twisted, uprooted fashion like wreckage. The lighting was shadowy, sometimes originating from the back of the stage.
Elizabeth Wallace & Lorin Mathis Edward Barnes, Amy Aldridge & Alexander Peters, Lauren Fadeley & James Ihde, and Mayara Pineiro & Arian Molina Soca led the outstanding cast on Sunday that included a corps of 16 who were simply phenomenal. The opening corps movement with stationary bodies sharply shifting left and right to the rumbling rhythms of Nyman’s musical train barreling down the tracks was riveting. All of the PdD were in very capable hands. Lorin Mathis Edward Barnes had the benefit of dancing his role at every one of the five performances; so, maybe that’s why he had a little edge on the others who had to share their roles with another cast. For those who have not seen this ballet danced by NYCB or the Royal Ballet, let’s just say that it has a lot of arm signals in it, especially toward the end, which we wish Wheeldon would edit down or add steps to the section. That little complaint aside, DGV is one of his major abstract works.
The H.H. Pump Bump Award, metal wreckage by Bryan Oknyansky, is bestowed upon the cast of DGV who brought the audience to its feet. One can only imagine what is going to happen in Philly next March when Angel Corella unleashes his dancers in his new Don Quixote. Can. Not. Wait.
H.H. has a frequent reader in Sydney, Australia who makes an annual trip to New York City each fall to enjoy the cultural offerings of our wonderful city. "Mr. S" always generously contributes to our conversation when he is here (and sometimes there). He is currently in town and has attended several ABT performances with several more still on his calendar. Following are his most recent observations which are, as usual, articulate and enlightening:
Good evening Haglund. Another year already; another ABT Fall Season; another chance to be in New York for that fortnight.
This year I have a total of eight performances. They are broken by performances at the Metropolitan Opera on 26th and 31st October, and it seems a good idea to write to you now in connection with the first three ABT programmes in my schedule.
The announced order of the programme was altered on the night and so that the new ballet After You was danced first. It was, to me, another of those long and abstract ballets which are no doubt fascinating to anyone who has been a ballet dancer or who has some developed knowledge of ballet technique. I could not dance if my life depended upon it and I have no particular knowledge of ballet technique. That meant that, notwithstanding the cachet of Mark Morris's name and fame, it all looked to me like imaginative gymnastics. Interesting? Yes, of course. Beautiful? Not to my eye. Thrilling? Not at all. The music, by Hummel, was unfamiliar to me, but I enjoyed it thoroughly and I thought that it was markedly well played.
And then, after an intermission, things were transformed and for the better.
First up, Mr Cornejo partnered Miss Lane in Le Spectre de la Rose. Now this is what I call real ballet. A simple episode of coherent narrative fantasy, beautifully staged, with a wonderful score by Weber. And the dancing. Mr Cornejo was simply dazzling. No gimmicks. No pretentiousness. He was the very incarnation of beauty in movement. The piece is famous for the male dancer's exit: Nijinsky, who created the role, caused a sensation when he sailed off the stage and through an open set window. I once read somewhere or other that people who saw Nijinsky thought, so great was his art, that he actually hung suspended in the air for a moment or two as he made his exit. Well, I can't say anything about Nijinsky, but I can say that Mr Cornejo, as he made the exit leap, bent his leg and gave the impression, just for a split second or two, that he, also, had managed to suspend flight. I myself thought that the way he made his entry, poised momentarily on the window sill and looking like an ancient Greek sculpture, was every bit as exciting as his final leap.His entire performance was instinct with great art : elegant, distinctive, crackling with stage electricity. This performance alone was worth the (considerable) price of the ticket.
None of the foregoing is to denigrate from the performance of Miss Lane. I wrote at length last year about how greatly I admired her style and grace. She was every bit as good this year as I remembered from last year.
Can somebody please persuade the Artistic Director and his associates to programme more, much more, of this type of ballet danced with this level of superb artistry?
As it happened, the next piece in the second segment of the programme was another fine classical piece: Valse Fantasie. This was a company premiere and the two featured soloists were Miss Seo and Mr Whiteside. The piece made, I thought, an interesting contrast to the Mark Morris piece. Both are what I would call abstract ballets, but Valse Fantasie, which looked to me to be very well danced, was, quite simply, beautiful to look at and that made, for me, all the difference to my comparative enjoyment of the two pieces.
The final segment of this programme was The Green Table.
I wish that I could share your enthusiasm for this piece, but I have to say that it did not appeal at all to me. I can agree readily with you about the quality of the performance. It is the structure of the piece that leaves me unresponsive. It seems to me that the ballet is intended to be satirical, but like a good deal of contemporarily relevant satire, it confuses the provocation to think seriously about some serious issue with the making of a didactic political statement. I am unconvinced that such is the authentic role of the art of ballet. I appreciate that that is a conservative viewpoint, but if there is one thing that modern experience should be teaching us by the day, it is that to demonstrate that something is unfashionable is not at all to demonstrate that it is unsound.
Saturday, 24th (Matinee)
A second performance of After You. Different cast; same response by me.
A second Le Spectre de la Rose, this time with Mr Siimkin and Miss Trenary. You know from last year's posts that I generally like Mr Siimkin's work and, had it not been for a distinct and distracting fall, his performance, although not for me in the same class as Mr Cornejo's, would have been very acceptable. As it was, I greatly admired the way in which Mr Siimkin, as it were, picked himself up, dusted himself down and got on with the performance, as a true professional in any field can always manage to do. He and Miss Trenary danced well together. At the curtain calls, she received a handsome bouquet. She plucked out of it a yellow rose, and then offered the entire bouquet to Mr Siimkin. He refused it, of course, but accepted the single rose. I hugely admired Miss Trenary's gesture. She must have understood how Mr Siimkin would be smarting from his misadventure, and it seemed to me that her simple gesture of offering her bouquet to her partner was Generous and considerate, a genuine class act.
There followed a second performance of Valse Fantasie. The soloists were Miss Teuscher and Mr Gorak. I liked them much better than the Friday evening cast.
You might recall from last year's posts that I greatly admire Mr Gorak's dancing and had wondered more than once why he had not been promoted to Soloist. Well, now he has been, and in addition has received an Annenberg Fellowship which will open up to him all manner of exciting opportunities. I recently read somewhere or other that Mr Gorak had told an interviewer that his dream had always been to dance as a Principal with ABT. May I say how greatly I hope that his promotion and his Fellowship will not draw him away from that ambition. The days are coming when ABT is going to have to refresh its roster of Principals and it is, precisely, up and coming artists of Mr Gorak's evident promise to whom the Company will have to look for that renewal.
And then, for the first time this year for me, Company B. I have enjoyed this piece ever since I first saw the Company perform it a couple of years ago. To a man of my age, the Andrews Sisters are a living memory. The choreography seems to me to be snappy without being merely gimmicky and, in general, good fun. All of the dancing was good. If iI speak yet again of Mr Gorak it is because he performed the Boogie Woogie Bugel Boy solo, an episode which remains in my memory as the one in which I first became aware of what Mr Siimkin could do. I think that Mr Gorak's style is not that of Mr Siimkin, but it certainly worked for me.
Saturday, 24th (Evening)
Repeats of Company B, Le Spectre de la Rose and Valse Fantasie. There is no need to repeat things peviously said, but once again Mr Gorak shone in Company B, and once again Mr Cornejo simply took one's breath away as the Rose. What an artist! I could happily have watched him all evening.
This programme introduced a ballet new to me, The Brahms-Haydn Variations. I enjoyed it greatly, much more so than Miss Tharp's Bach Partita of last year. The music of Brahms, which I love, was a great musical setting but, the music itself apart, the stage action seemed to me to be more interesting overall. Last year, I was lukewarm about Miss Copeland's dancing, but I must say that, partnered by Mr Barca, and partnered very well to my eye, Miss Copeland danced her role with what I thought was much greater flair than she showed last year.
Overall, and at about the mid-point of my 2015 ABT schedule, I think that the programming, about which I complained last year, is very much improved; and the dancing has been uniformly good and, in the cases of Mr Cornejo and Mr Gorak, excellent. For me, Mr Cornejo has been, thus far, not so much a stand-out as a knock-out. To see that level or artistry is a privilege and an experience justifying the effort of getting to New York from the opposite side of the world.
Fokine's Le Spectre de la Rose and Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie, presented over the weekend by ABT, were made some 50 years apart to beautiful melodic music composed in the first half of the 19th Century. Both Weber’s Invitation to a Dance for Le Spectre and Glinka’s Valse Fantaisie in B minor for the Balanchine ballet were born as piano solos and later richly orchestrated. They are happy listening, and that certainly helped during their three performances on Friday and Saturday. Weber’s music warmly invites fantasy while Glinka’s is an irresistible invitation to waltz.
The performances of Le Spectre by Herman Cornejo and Sarah Lane on Friday and Saturday nights transported the viewer into the Young Girl’s dream in which the rose that she wore to her first ball came handsomely alive and danced with her. Sarah was pitch perfect as the Young Girl dancing through her dream. Herman carried the closest physical resemblance to Nijinksy (the original interpreter) that Haglund has ever seen. Compact with chiseled legs, he also has strong arms that delicately swirled the fragrance of the rose over his head. Where Sarah achieved the sense of fantasy with modest port de bras and sensitive musicality, Cassandra Trenary (at the matinee) was too aggressive in her handling of the choreography, flailing her arms like she was in the middle of Princess Florine and Bluebird. True, her Princess Florine was one of the highlights of last season's Sleeping Beauty performances, but that doesn’t mean that we want to see it embedded in every other role she dances. Daniil Simkin’s Rose suffered a setback early in the performance when he slipped and fell. Hopefully, it all looked more frightening than it actually was, but it was clearly a very hard meeting of bum and floor. He recovered and completed the performance with an unexpected steadiness and calm.
Haglund wishes that ABT would not dance Balanchine’s work unless they are willing to invest in high-end staging. Too many of the choreographer’s brilliant works are degraded through ineffective, misguided staging where the stager works hard to mount mannerisms but doesn't introduce dancers to the heart of the work. The stager's handling of Symphony in C was just criminal. The staging of Duo Concertant was an embarrassment. Now comes Valse Fantaisie, for which there is a definitive performance standard on the internet for everyone to see as well as recent respectable efforts by SAB students in live performances.
The weekend performances led by Hee Seo/James Whiteside on Friday and Saturday nights and by Devon Teuscher/Joseph Gorak at the Saturday matinee were too slow. Whiteside was able to capture the sense of “catching up to the music” that the Balanchine men convey in this ballet, but it looked like it was all just pretending. The ballerinas’ flourishing of the arms and shoulders was so overdone that it looked like they were performing caricatures. Did we mention that the tempo was slow? It yielded enough time for each ballerina to perform huge sprawling grand jetes in manège with loping steps in between. Where were those faster than fast, lighter than light running steps between those jetes that should have been more breezy? It seems the stager couldn’t teach these two ballerinas how to run fast.
Thankfully, Joseph Gorak demonstrated that he could move decisively and effortlessly at a high rate of speed while looking like he could still go faster and higher while maintaining gorgeous lines. His Saturday matinee performance was just remarkable and in such contrast to the one before and after him. What gifts this man has.
The Valse Fantaisie corps de ballet at Friday and Saturday nights’ performance didn’t have too many problems but overall, with the exception of Melanie Hamrick, they didn’t bring their legs down from battements so that the feet pressed softly but firmly into the floor. Why wasn’t SAB graduate Courtney Lavine part of the Valse Fantaisie casts instead of some of these neophytes who were just out there swinging their legs around? Honestly, why is ABT hiding this gorgeous ballerina with fine Balanchinian form who can also convey beautiful classicism? We know why, and we may write about it at length if the situation doesn’t self-correct this spring. It is unacceptable to hide a talented dancer because of the jealousy of someone who is less capable and has less classical beauty.
There were several highlights in the second casts of works over the weekend - the main one being Stephanie Williams and Blaine Hoven in Tharp’s Brahms-Haydn Variations. Wow, has Stephanie’s hard work with smaller performance groups over the summer paid off. Every performance now reveals more luster, more understanding of how to connect with the audience, more ownership of the choreography, and more confidence. Blaine’s partnering skills are looking almost as assured as those of Marcelo Gomes. (We are praying that he was first to sign up for the Sleeping Beauty Special Forces prince crew for Stella Abrera’s Rose Adagio in the spring.) Both Blaine and Stephanie shone brightly in the Saturday matinee cast of Mark Morris’ After You. Herman Cornejo, in the same cast, really elevated his role by nailing the tongue-in-cheek humor with brilliant seriousness. The viewer’s eye was also continually drawn to Tom Forster whose cat-like grace is so unusual for a man of his great height and strength. It would have been nice to see him in the role of Death in The Green Table.
Luciana Paris and Arron Scott in the matinee cast of Brahms-Haydn were sublime. Luciana has been relegated to gypsy, pirate lady, and harlot roles for far too many years. She’s got real classical chops and we deserve to see more of them.
The HH Pump Bump Award is bestowed upon Stephanie Williams and Blaine Hoven for their outstanding principal performances in Tharp’s Brahms-Haydn Variations.
OMG, Haglund needs his oxygen tank.
Simone's partner is Rainer Krensteller. This is from Opening Night of Miami City Ballet's 30th Season. Last night's program included Balanchine's Swan Lake, Scarlett's Viscera, and Robbins's Fancy Free.
Haglund knows that he's not the only one who misses this artist who understands what it means to be an artist.
It had to have been pure coincidence. It had to have been.
How could ABT have possibly scheduled so far in advance the opening performance of Kurt Jooss' timeless masterpiece, in which brainless and corrupt politicians blow their breath pointlessly across a table only to resolve nothing, on the same day that partisan, posturing Congressional nincompoops in Washington DC hovered over a table while blubbering Benghazi at and battering the next president of the United States? If this was actual planning on ABT’s part, we have to congratulate them.
We have to congratulate them anyway.
What a powerfully danced, powerfully acted performance of The Green Table on Thursday night. This dance theater piece born from German expressionism between World Wars I and II becomes more American with each passing decade. Haglund first saw it during the Vietnam War when his tender socio-political conscience was just developing. The Joffrey Ballet’s production exposed the spine of war with vivid, skeletal, nightmarish horror. Christian Holder's stomping and mechanical jerking of his limbs as the looming monstrous character of Death who touches everyone in war is probably the strongest image of dance that Haglund holds in his mind today.
Last night, Marcelo Gomes as Death carried within him the greatness of Jooss, Holder, and the powerful Chilean Maximiliano Zomosa (Joffrey’s first-cast) as he carried off his victims one at a time. First to die was The Old Mother, grippingly portrayed by Luciana Paris. Covered from head to toe in drab ordinary clothing and doubled over in aged grief, she could no longer cope. Death welcomed her, the forgotten ordinary mother in all wars, with opened arms.
Death took the soldiers methodically, relentlessly, and indiscriminately. Aaron Scott, Kenneth Easter, Gray Davis, Gabe Stone Shayer, and Sean Stewart were all outstanding. Blaine Hoven as The Standard Bearer was simply brilliant. Earlier Standard Bearers of the 20th Century have entered the drama with modest, perfectly placed jetes like they were dancing off to perform their patriotic duty. Blaine arrived like the 21st Century zealot-soldier with 21st Century force and confidence in victory. It’s the new age of war, but it always ends the same. This is Blaine’s season; his dancing and form have never looked better.
Devon Teuscher as The Partisan Woman, sometimes called The Guerrilla Woman – but in this production, simply The Woman – wrestled with her grief and disbelief in what the war was bringing, and in a brave but desperate moment, randomly killed one of the soldiers. Death immediately appeared, as we knew he would, and escorted The Partisan Woman to her execution. The final tableau of Death’s impassive face was, and always has been, chilling. Devon’s portrayal was knife-sharp, and we cannot wait to see it again.
Even though we knew it was coming because we’ve seen this dance so many times, it still sucked the breath from us. Sarah Lane as the The Young Girl danced with The Young Soldier (Arron Scott) as he prepared to leave for war. Death began stalking them. As he came closer and closer, one sensed the soldier’s impending death. But instead, Death scooped up The Young Girl in a brief but horrifying PdD in which there could be no mistaking of what occurred. As she lay dead on the floor, Death leaned closely to her body and ran his nose down the length of her torso, sniffing the way an animal sniffs a carcass, and then once again looked up at us impassively. Sarah’s dramatic performance had enormous depth and power, and exposed a layer of her talent that we want desperately to see more of in the coming season.
Herman Cornejo’s oily Profiteer was a masterpiece in itself. When performed properly, the viewer admires the character’s skill but still wants Death to catch him. It is always disturbing to see him get away after looting the corpses of war. Wearing his funny little bowler hat, Herman’s Profiteer slithered from victim to victim, picking their jewelry, and displaying smug joy with each find.
David LaMarche and Daniel Waite gave robust interpretations of the piano score by F.A. Cohen. They seemed to be living each note just like the dancers were living each step.
Cheers for the Gentlemen in Black, the politicians, who gave the choreography a vividness that we haven't seen in a long time.
It would be easy to go overboard with the analysis of ABT’s Gala performance. We’ll do a little of that. But first let’s summarize at the top by saying that while the evening had its merits, the overall impression was one of a company struggling to breathe. When Kevin McKenzie appeared before the curtain to give a brief speech, he struggled to convey enthusiasm. He even struggled to make his thanks to supporters sound sincere and not simply desperate and obligatory.
The program – Mark Morris’ After You, Frederick Ashton’s Monotones I and II, and Twyla Tharp’s The Brahms-Haydn Variations – were all danced well but with little impact. The redeeming feature of this collection of work was its high level of musicality – unforced musicality in the first two pieces while somewhat forced in the last.
After You, a new commission from Morris to lovely music composed by Johan Nepomuk Hummel in 1829, was a surprisingly seriously-crafted effort. Throughout, Morris showed a fondness for the use of trios - which is actually a well-known Ashton characteristic, e.g., Monotones – and a tremendous respect for the shape of classical port de bras – also a huge aspect of Monotones. Morris frequently had his dancers deeply bend to the side with arms in fifth en haut (over the head) in a manner quite similar to Ashton’s dancers in Monotones. Did it look like Morris was copying or quoting? No, it looked like a shared language being spoken, perhaps with a different accent, but nevertheless, a shared language.
The dancers in After You, men and women alike, were draped in loose jumpsuits in vivid shades of orange and pink designed by Isaac Mizrahi. They didn’t look exactly like his ready-to-wear line, but clearly were influenced by it. The gentle gathering at the waistlines gave them a hint of Victorian era styling which connected nicely to the 1829 music and to some of the concepts of manners and politeness within the choreography which was overall quite tidy.
Twelve dancers of equal billing – with Stella Abrera and Gillian Murphy being slightly more equal – danced ebulliently in mostly trios but also pairs, quartets, and ensemble. Dancers’ phrases would come to an end by feeding into other dancers’ phrases with shared texts – also a characteristic of the Tharp piece which closed the evening. Throughout After You, dancers marched off or on to the stage (Hummel’s music is known as “Military”) and cavorted in basic ballet terminology without resorting to extremes. It was an example of doing more with less.
Calvin Royal and Sterling Baca were the main partners to Stella and Gillian. The other members of the cast included Lily Wisdom, Skylar Brandt Catherine Hurlin, Devon Teuscher, Joo Won Ahn, Jeffrey Cirio, Craig Salstein, and Arron Scott. Jeffrey Cirio, ABT’s newest imported soloist, had a featured solo. He’s a competent technician, barely tall enough to partner Skylar Brandt. The reason for his hire remains a question mark - like so many before him.
An overall impression of this new Morris piece is that it could eventually function like Balanchine’s Le Tombeau de Couperin. It would be a nice piece to turn over to the corps de ballet.
Monotones I and II will settle into the repertory after a couple of performances. Monotones I with Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston and Joseph Gorak was the more ready of the two this evening. While Isabella’s arms and hands were under control, the rest of her did not match the tight classical line in the adagio of the other two dancers. As the more earth-connected trio in green unitards and caps, the Monotones I cast was more floor-bound than the celestial-connected trio of Monotones II (Veronika Part, Cory Stearns, and Thomas Forster in white unitards) which saw lovely, lengthy Veronika frequently elevated. Both parts of this ballet are equally lovely to watch but leave the viewer wanting more, like maybe a Monotones III that involves all six dancers.
The evening concluded with Tharp’s complicated response to Brahms’ response to Haydn. Things looked a little messy in places. (Twyla is on tour.) Standouts were Gillian Murphy, Christine Shevchenko, Joseph Gorak, Sarah Lane, Sean Stewart, Luciana Paris, and Blaine Hoven. Why in the world McKenzie cast Maria Kochetkova instead of Luciana Paris opposite Herman Cornejo is a real headscratcher. Luciana and Herman have danced a lot together outside of ABT, and she was marvelous tonight - a real Tharpster. There are some people who just “take” to the Tharp style, like Luciana, Blaine, and Sean Stewart and then there are others who don’t, like Daniil Simkin and Roman Zhurbin. This isn’t a ballet that a company can put together in a couple of weeks. Even though its style is loose and kinetic, it becomes quite apparent when people are unsure what they are supposed to be doing.
The HH Pump Bump, which covers the spectrum of Mizrahi's costumes, is bestowed upon Mark Morris who surprised us with his serious effort in After You:
We should soon be hearing from the Joyce Theater about Trio ConcertDance which we have deduced will be at the Joyce in or around the beginning of March. Alessandra Ferri, Herman Cornejo and pianist Bruce Levingston will perform at the Ford Theater on the University of Mississippi campus on February 23rd. The theater’s press release stated that the Mississippi event will be a preview for performances the following week in New York. Also, Levingston has confirmed on his website that he will be performing at the Joyce Theater. Haglund is fairly good at math; so putting the proverbial 2 + 2 together wasn’t hard. But this is still officially off of the UIEX tickertape.
The evening in Mississippi closes with Angelin Preljocaj's Le Parc. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.
Former ABT ceo Rachel Moore is already embroiled in controversy in her new job at the Music Center in LA. The center has refused to turn over most of its financial records for a County audit. The County Board of Supervisors ordered the special audit and has thus far found multiple instances where the center has not been able to fully document how it spent money. Stay tuned.
We were wondering how long it would take for this media angle to develop.
The latest story is that technical feats that Misty Copeland doesn’t even attempt are hurting her legs so terribly. She’s telling the press that the 32 fouettes in Swan Lake - that she does NOT do - are so painful on her left leg which had the surgery necessitated by Copeland’s reckless disregard for her own physical health over a long period of time – but she struggles through them. Not. Ever.
A real ballerina would switch to the right supporting leg for the fouettes. A real ballerina should be able to do them on both sides regardless of her preference for left or right. How many years has this whiner been yanking those knee joints inside out for every camera that she can find, and now her legs don’t function as they should. Oh gosh, such sacrifice for the art . . . .
BAM alerted one of our Haglund’eelers that the full Mariinsky schedule should be available by the end of November which is long after ticket sales begin.
We’re not especially happy to see Diana Vishneva foisting Woman in a Room on the Mariinsky-loving ballet audience in New York. The original choreography, A Man in a Room, by Caroline Carlson, based on the art and madness of Mark Rothko, was made famous by Tero Saarinen who performed it brilliantly in New York a few years ago. Just utterly brilliantly. A customization of its themes for Vishneva sounds so bizarre. Her trend toward modern choreography always includes a caveat for us not to forget that she is really a beautiful ballerina. If she were to shave her head, remove all makeup, and then perform Woman in a Room, we’d probably pay attention; but a ballerina-version of this haunting choreography likely will have the viewer focus more on the ballerina not the content.
Yes, Ulyana Lopatkina is coming back. She and Diana Vishneva will be featured somewhere within "four distinct ballet programs dedicated to Maya Plisetskaya," the great Bolshoi icon who expired last May.
BAM's press release is a little vague on what we should expect, but Dying Swan and Woman in a Room are definitely on the bill. Nor do we know how many other Mariinsky dancers will be on the program.
Tickets go on sale to BAM members on November 7th and to the general public on November 16th. Prices are especially high (35, 70, 110, 150, 175) for the ballet performances and are subject to increases after November 29. Considering what they are charging, they'd better bring a whole lot more dancers with Lopatkina and Vishneva.
The major problem that we see is that the dates of the BAM engagement overlap with the Raymonda dates at the Kennedy Center. So it would seem that New York will get the Mariinsky Orchestra while the Kennedy Center dates will probably involve the house orchestra as has happened previously. Of course, the Mariinsky Theatre has enough dancers to run performances simultaneously in NY, DC and a few other places, but what about those of us who want to be in two places at one time?
Adding to our anxiety over these conflicting dates in NY and DC is the final week of NYCB which includes Agon, Symphony in C, The Four Temperaments, and Mozartiana. Oy....
Valery Gergiev will conduct in New York including on the evening of February 24th when there will be a marathon concert consisting of all five of Prokofiev's piano concertos played in chronological order by four different pianists.