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December 15, 2013


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Oh, Haglund, what a wonderful review. I have to hope that when the dead wood at the top of the principal roster ages into history, we will finally see the Yuriko-Jared Giselle in New York. Also another long-awaited Giselle....maybe even a few more.

I'm so glad to see that Jared is finally getting recognized by the reviewer at The New York Times. I've been watching him develop over several years. I thought his Lensky in the spring Onegin was the best thing he's ever done. His adagio before the duel was heart-stopping, a total embodiment of the character conveyed through exquisite dancing.

Is the lift you describe like the final lift in the Spring Waters pas de deux? I'm so happy to hear such detail about these performances. Thank you, Haglund.

Thanks, Angelica. I agree that Jared's Lensky was superb. Jared and Yuriko's Giselle in Chicago was the best that ABT had to offer that year, but NYC didn't get to see it.

Hi J. The lift doesn't go quite as far as the one in Spring Waters - there's no letting go at the end – but it's similar up until that point. It's in Grigorovich's Nutcracker.

Forget partnerships, I'm more concerned that we will never see the homegrown soloists ever again...I mean look at what happened to sascha radetsky (who is gorgeous and stunning and every superlative)...

Instead we get a certain newly promoted principal, whom I saw dance Nut with Xiomara Reyes. It was exciting for all the wrong reasons; I thought she would crack her head open on the lift. My date, who had never been to the ballet before, turned to me and said "they made a huge mistake right?"

Fan Zhang, you echo what many have complained about - the lack of opportunities for us to see our homegrown soloists in principal roles that they deserve to dance and would dance well. Do you think Radetsky would have a problem with that lift? Ha! He'd be able to do it like at the end of Grigorovich's Spring Waters PdD where the guy just lets go and finishes it all with one arm. And he looks and dances like a true Prince. I saw him in all of his (Kudelka) Cinderella performances with Reyes and he was phenomenal. He should have been her partner.

Good to hear that Whiteside is living up to his potential by nearly cracking Reyes' head open. On opening night, he was in the Arabian section and did not have a clue as to what the character was supposed to be doing. Not a clue. Maybe if Ratmansky altered the choreography so that Whiteside could flash his crotch or ass to the audience as he's accustomed to doing in his other career, the guy might be more comfortable in the Arabian role. What a mistake it was to hire that guy. Rather, another mistake.

The Spring Waters lift is at the end of this clip:

Is the Grigorovich lift you've been discussing here at 1:24?

(Mosina is Russian born, Bolshoi trained. Tyukov is also Russian, trained at Perm.)

Thanks for the links, J. Those are the lifts, except that (I'm pretty sure) Jared didn't let go, but his was still the absolute best of all of the ABT men. What the other couples always do is: a) Clara runs up to the prince and comes to a complete dead stop, b) then she lifts her foot to the back like a horse about to be shoed, and c) the Prince finally hoists her up. It looks as lame as it sounds.

Those are great YouTube clips.


You really detest Whiteside , don`t you ? I agree that he is not on a Soloist level , let alone a Principal . Why he was hired by McKenzie is a mystery...as there are other ABTdancers that deserve to be promoted as you have constantly pointed out. I have seen some of his Youtube videos , and was appalled...I think he has , as one says "serious issues " . At least ABT could have insisted that he remove those silly , infantile videos....but , alas , did not .What is in his mind I do not know , but a serious artist should not have posted such "Dreck".I will avoid any ballet that he dances in .Perhaps he should drop ballet and just do "Drag " Shows !
The Ratmansky "Nutcracker" is nothing special....and I have seen numerous versions in the 39 years. I first saw it at BAM last year and was underwhelmed.....Balanchines version is still the best......Ratmansky is very prolific...and most of his ballets are forgettable....why Greskovich and Gottlieb have jumped on his bandwagon is a mystery...who wants to see his "Firebird" and "From Foreign Lands" again ? I do not. The only decent ballet he did was DSCH at NYCB.....it it does not even measure up to minor Balanchine such "Kammermusik#2"...but then , what do I know?

Hi, Friedrich.

Ratmansky's Nutcracker may not seem to be on the classical level of Balanchine's, because it is less grand and more intimate. My only disappointment with the production is the K-Mart Christmas tree. But I continually find more things to enjoy about the production with each viewing.

I've probably seen it 30 times over the past four years and know that each cast, particularly the character ensemble, bring something new to each performance. Even during seasons when I know that I've seen way more than enough of the Kitchen scene and the Dining room scene, Ratmansky's Nutcracker pulls me back to BAM for the two major PdDs and the Snow Scene which IMO definitely are not inferior to Balanchine's in any respect.

To me, Nutcracker is not a ballet where one seeks out the best possible production and ignores all others. Seeing the variety of interpretations and themes broaden the scope of the seasonal joy - as hokey as that may sound. Balanchine's, Ratmansky's, Joffrey's, Francis Patrelle's, Grigorovich's, Helgi Tomasson's, and Gelsey Kirkland's are all fantastically imaginative productions. The only ones I really don't care for are the ones that mock or bend-for-the-sake-of-bending the tradition.

With regard to Ratmansky's other work, I don't think ABT has gotten his best stuff - for whatever reason. Maybe it has to do with the inevitable collaborative influences of the rest of the artistic team or time constraints or maybe it's just that he's churning out too much choreography around the world too fast without letting it simmer.

As for Whiteside, you're right, I can't bear to watch him.


I agree with you that other choreographic versions are worthwhile watching....indeed , some of them have wonderful parts...but , as a whole, Balanchines version is most satisfying overall. Excepting the schlocky Ter-Arutunian sets and costumes...it looks like Christmas at Walmart ! How about having Juergen Rose design the ballet ?
I saw the NYCB December 19th performance....which was mediocre at best....except for T. Peck, R. Krohn, and R. Fairchild ( replacing Danchig-Waring ).The Berlin State Ballet has a new production by Y. Burlaka of the ballet , using the Stepanov notations..recreating the original set and costume designs....the Berlin press raved about this production....it would be a real treat to see it. You may know that Ratmansky and Burlaka recreated "Le Corsaire" using the Stepanov notes...and it is a triumph -you can see two complete performances by the Bolshoi on Youtube...a real pleasure...have you seen them ?
Pergaps I was a liitle unfair regarding Ratmansky....I also like his "Naumona" (SP ?) for the NYCB....and wish he would devote some time to choreograph the whole score.
I think that your site is a real treat...and you allow postings that you may not agree with...unlike Ballet Alert.....
I always look forward to your thoughts about the ballet....

Regarding J. Whiteside - why even comment on his performances ? I will just avoid seeing him dance....but you as a critic and fan , I understand that you will see performances where he may be in the cast.

Hi, Friedrich. It seems that NYCB is loosening up on its undying commitment to original costume designs, but any and all changes continue to be controversial, e.g.,the new costumes for Symphony in C and Who Cares failed to win everybody's applause.

I've viewed much of the YouTube video of Le Corsaire by Ratmansky and Burlaka. I wonder why the Bolshoi doesn't bring that to the U.S (or maybe they have, and I just missed it.)

Friedrich, thanks for reading H.H. and for contributing your considerable insight.

I've been curious to see how others do the "Grigorovich lift" in the Grand Pas and found two Bolshoi couples that seem to do it more along the lines of the ABT version you described. It starts at about 3:10 in each clip. The entrance into the lift seems very slow and deliberate and he never lets go with either arm. (I prefer the Mosina-Tyukov version.)



You're right, J, that's similar to what most of the ABT couples tried to do but they were a long way off from an execution standpoint. Jared and Yuriko did it like Maximova and Vasiliev except that Jared didn't let go....yet. I think we should all stay tuned for next year.

Haglund-- saw James Whiteside with Hee Seo last night and the grand pas was an absolute disaster. I was afraid for her life; he nearly dropped her on almost every lift and even pulled her away out of an assisted pirouette. The "Grigorovich lift" looked as crude as if he just had his hand up her skirt, and they didn't even attempt to move diagonally once she was hauled up. Remarkably bad.

Hi K. Not surprised at all to hear about Whiteside. Hee Seo is not a strong partner either and has become accustomed to Bolle and Gomes carrying all the weight and responsibility. Sooo not principal level dancers.

I heard that Jared Matthews stepped in for Joseph Gorak in yesterday afternoon's performance with Sarah Lane. Sarah and Joseph's first performance didn't go so well: missed lifts shattered their confidence and musicality for the remainder of the performance.

What more does Jared have to do to prove himself? He's already proven that he's beyond Whiteside and Stearns.

Jared, Stella, Yuriko, and Sarah should all be promoted to principal without further delay. It makes me sick to my stomach to see their accomplishments ignored by McKenzie while he promotes the homely, ugly, and marginally competent.

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