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November 13, 2014


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Hi Haglund, This is off topic, but did you hear about Misty Copeland dancing Swan Lake with the Washington Ballet? That news put a damper on my day! I can't stand her, and my husband says with her shoulders, maybe she could help out the Washington Redskins, as she looks like a linebacker. No offense to her fans, but I can't stand her dancing, or her smug, entitled attitude. I became close with her mom thru FB, and she is a warm lovely woman who is so hurt by all of this nonsense. Might have to switch to NYCB for my ballet fix.

I was at that same performance, Haglund, and agree with everything you said. I would make two additional points: The first is that while everyone is marveling at Osipova's ballon, I thought that Soboleva showed nice ballon as well, both in Act I and Act II. Her entrechats in Act II, however, lacked definition. The other thing that struck me was that when the wilis came out, line by line, to do their chugs in Act II, they ran out and chugged in place, until they were all out on stage, when they proceeded to cross lines in those moments we all wait for. I wondered whether that was an artistic decision, and if so, why, or a simplification.

I wonder, too, whether it is really easier to turn in attitude en avant, as Soboleva did in Act I, than in attitude derriere, which is customary. I will put it to the test in my next pointe class. :)

Hi, Angelica.

I don't know why the Wilis did it that way; maybe it had to do with the width of the stage. I really liked their special Wili turn step that they did without the saute de basque that ABT employs. The ladies just sort of piqued up, around and over whereas the Paris Opera Ballet Wilis simply step around themselves. It looks much smoother. The Wilis' heads don't bob up and down like they do at ABT. But those chugs on Wednesday afternoon were very, very noisy.

Hi, Stephanie. Yes, I've been reading the press that Misty has been putting out which is trying hard to create the idea of a racial stereotype so she can have something to rise up against and conquer. Basically, Misty is trafficking in racism. I'm not sure why she thinks that she stands so high above the black dancers at Dance Theatre of Harlem, Houston Ballet, and Birmingham Royal Ballet who have starred in Swan Lake to great acclaim. Before she claims to be making history, Misty should try reading some.

The Washington Ballet is a very small company - fewer than two dozen dancers – which means that their Swan Lake will use one heck of a lot of students or stringers unless it is adapted and scaled down for the Eisenhower Theater.

All that said, let's keep this particular discussion close to the Mikhailovsky. Thanks.

Chugs! I never knew what to call that step. My agony is over.

It's my favorite part of Giselle, in fact, my favorite thing in any performance of anything. I wait for it. That part never fails to make me go crazy.

Hi Diana!

I think the official name for the "chugs" is arabesque voyage or voyage arabesque. One of the words may have an "s" on the end of it - or however one says traveling arabesque in French.

I believe the Mikhailovsky filled out their peasant and wili corps with dancers/students from New York.

Hi, Buffee. That's interesting. How did you come by this information? Do you know someone from NY who actually danced in the Mikhailovsky production - as opposed to being a supernumerary? Using local supers as stage filler is a very common practice.

The Borzoi dogs were guest artists and were clearly credited in the Playbill but there was no mention of any students or other NY dancers.

The Mikhailovsky has 50 women corps/coryphees. Not sure why they would need local talent to do actual dancing.

I know of one student who was hired to dance in the corps but also know there were others too. Maybe they didn't bring their entire company.

Which local school was the student from?

a Russian school - can't name it.

A source from Ardani Artists, the presenter, has clarified that no students or local dancers were used in actual dancing roles in the Giselle corps de ballet but that one student will be used in Class Concert.

Going forward, don't offer info with "can't say" with regard to where you got it.

my apologies! I heard it from a family member so I thought it was correct.

Haglund, the proper spelling you were looking for is "arabesque voyagée", as "arabesque" is a feminine noun in French.

Always happy to read your erudite posts. Cheers!

Thanks much, JM.

Hi Haglund,

Thank you for this beautifully descriptive review. I attended the same performance and was incredibly taken with Soboleva/Lebedev. For me, they captured the Romantic essence of Act II. Looking forward to seeing more of them during The Mikhailovsky's New York tour.

Hi, bookworm68. Thanks for stopping by H.H.

I totally agree that Soboleva and Lebedev captured the Romantic essence of Giselle. It would be nice if they would stay intact as a pair for a few years so that we might watch their artistic interpretation and partnership grow in response to one other.

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