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May 29, 2015


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How I wish I could have seen Xiomara's last Giselle! I've always loved her, never flashy dancer but always a delight. Of all the Giselles, her and Herman's (I saw their second together, evening, performance) was the most moving and emotional I've ever seen.

Also, I would pay ticket money to see Osipova in many big classic roles (and I was pleasantly surprised by her efforts in the cinemacast Royal Ballet Swan Lake) but Giselle is probably the last I'd choose. Not that she'll be poor in any way, but I prefer the artistry of other top-level dancers much more in that role.

I remember that performance well, elfantgirl. It was just as you said. The heaviness of Albrecht's heart was nearly overwhelming, and Xiomara gave a flawless performance.

Although I am aware of the circumstances around Paloma's decision to retire at the matinee performance, I am still very disappointed that the management of the company allowed it. After giving so much for over 20 years, the send off should have been a Don Q on a Saturday night. Even if it was the only Don Q of the season, she deserved it. If they ever wanted a guaranteed sell-out, that would be it. I wish I could have seen both of the performances last night. Thank you Haglund for your insightful posts that allow those of us who could not attend feel like we did.

Normally I would be looking forward to the announcement of promotions to principal, but honestly I am filled with dread at who they might choose.

SM, I totally agree that ABT could have put together a one-night Saturday night Don Q for Paloma that would have been an instant sell-out. The company doesn't need 8 weeks of rehearsal to throw its Don Q on stage - if it does, then something is very, very wrong. Also, they should have had Paloma do the Don Q excerpt at the gala, not the vapid, colorless Boylston.

Count me as another who was thrilled to see these last performances. I'm glad I made an effort to go to both. I, too, was at that second time together Reyes-Cornejo Giselle, and it was one of the best I have ever seen; the memory has never left me.

I'd like to give a special shoutout to Cornejo's brises. While Shklyarov's and Bolle's entrechat six were spectacular, they were essentially show-off party tricks. The brises, however, tell the story. The Albrecht who does those really looks as if he is dancing for/pleading for his life.

I am now officially Giselled out; this week tied my record of 3 in one week. If I recall correctly, the last time I did that it was back in the day at City Center, and I saw Gelsey Kirkland/Charles Ward, Cynthia Gregory/Fernando Bujones and the Japanese import Morashita with Bujones. (Apologies to Morashita; her first name is not coming readily to hand.)

I want to thank you, as I always seem to be doing, but this time for your review of these two valuable and unique ballerinas in their final performances with ABT. I have a special place in my heart for Xiomara Reyes, who has always shown her very big heart, love, and warmth on stage. I saw her in The Sleeping Beauty a few years back and was captivated by her musicality, effortless, and sparkling technique and her "conversation" with the suitors during the Rose Adagio; and she gave two memorable performances two years ago in Los Angeles in Le Corsaire, which is a ballet I dislike, but which she single-handedly made more than bearable for me. Ms. Reyes is enchanting and I will miss her.

Haglund, I have been waiting with anticipation for your review. I wish I could have been there on Wednesday and I am so happy to know both Paloma and Xiomara danced so well. It is sad. With the departure of these stars is the close of a very special chapter at ABT. I remember all the spring seasons that I ran to see Paloma and Angel, especially, but many others too. No matter what was going on in my life I would pay with money I didn't have to be inside the Met. I just had to experience all the beauty. Reading the recent interviews with these prima ballerinas and once again having them in the spotlight brought all of this back to memory. When I began to notice a real change with the company about six seasons ago I started to go less. Now, I won't go at all. The direction of ABT is so tragic for the world of classic arts that I refuse to support them. As sad as I am that this chapter that had me enthralled with ABT is over, I think the dancers moving on are doing the right thing. How can any artist who values the high standards that make ballet an art remain?

I didn't notice the boos when McKenzie came out on stage for Reyes. I did notice however how cool her greeting for him was; everyone prior had gotten a huge hug- he barely got a shoulder in his general direction. I felt the temperature drop in the Met at that moment.

J and rtw,

Thanks much for your comments.

In addition to Xiomara's own beautiful artistry, I'll always remember the stabilizing force she had on her partners - whether it was Julio Bocca in his highly emotional Farewell performance as Albrecht or Herman Cornejo's nearly equally charged debut in that role. Wednesday night it was very hard to tell which principal was more emotionally spent by the occasion. I think the red lily came as a surprise to Herman; one cannot "act" what we saw on his face.

Hi, Johanna. You're so right the temperature dropped when McKenzie came on stage. It had the same effect in the afternoon. The booing in the evening was moderate, but it was the first time I'd ever heard it directed at him. I think people are loosening up a bit as they lose more patience. Maybe one day ABT's audience will be as spontaneous and honest as the opera audience is with its expressions of dissatisfaction. I wouldn't mind seeing/hearing that.

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Xiomara perform the balcony scene from MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet with NYCB's Gonzalo Garcia at the YAGP Gala in Indianapolis. She was truly magnificent. She was so full of joy and love. Just beautiful.

Thanks to ABT tours to Chicago several years ago, I was lucky enough to see Xiomara dance Juliet, Aurora, Giselle and the Cowgirl in Rodeo. Last night was by far the most special knowing I could have been seeing one of if not the last times she dances that pas.

I think my friend's comment after the performance sums it up best: "She's a true artist and I feel so honored to have gotten to see her."

Note: Irina Dvorovenko also performed at the gala. She danced Dying Swan in memory of Maya Plisetskaya. Irina was luminous and danced it beautifully.


Thank you so much for the report on these two artists who are dear to many. That must have been a fabulous gala last night in the Tarkington Theater - named after one of Haglund's Indianapolis relatives.

Let's keep our eyes peeled for video.

I think it was Xiomara and Herman's first Giselle that I saw, but I agree with those who saw the second—their version is among the best ever! Tears were streaming down my face. Sensational technique and artistry.

I wish I were still in New York to have seen it again, and Stella's. I never tire of Giselle. But in general I agree with rtw—I am boycotting ABT until they reverse their disastrous artistic course. (Firing McKenzie and installing Stiefel or Corella would be the dream come true.)

I could attend the Orange County/LA performances and choose not to. Particularly since the last thing I want to see is a stripped-back historical SB ten years after Russia started that fad. Or Ratmansky's Firebird again. His ABT work is uninspired compared to his work for NYCB and the Bolshoi, who present distinct points of view instead of endless retreads.

Another wonderful memory featuring both Paloma and Xiomara was a "Noche Latina" performance of Le Corsaire with Bocca, Carreno, Corella and Cornejo. Everyone egged each other on and showed maximum pyrotechnics. Julio did a triple tour! I don't think I've ever enjoyed that ballet more: it was cheesy excess at its best. Legendary.

(I just don't understand—why stop doing the things that work so well? Similar to how they put a damper on the Part-Gomes partnership.)

Annie H. -

I remember that Noche Latina like it was yesterday, and I so remember Bocca coming out of the upstage corner to do those tours on the diagonal. The sense of community on the stage and in the house was indescribable. We were all Latino pirates that night. What a great memory.

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