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July 10, 2016


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I don't even notice the feet or the legs that the AD finds so wonderful on that dancer. I can't get past the crooked arms and clawed hands, like bat wings. Such an easy fix and one this dancer continues to refuse to work on.

In fact this dancer and the "new" Aurora DON'T follow the restoration style because the modern forms make them look more vigorous against Murphy, Lane and Abrera. Upstaging is the name of the game at ABT. Most American audiences don't know the difference but the Parisian audiences certainly will.

What a waste of poor Gorak. He does work hard on his form and follows Ratmansky's instructions. He needs a partner who does the same. But the AD would probably rather have him dance with anyone but else but Lane now.

Thrilled for Sarah and maybe this will finally take her to the international audience she has been shielded from here by her own team :( but selfishly I hope we won't loose her too for the sake of those board chosen favorites here :(

Here is the link for tickets if you are one of the lucky ones to see her in Europe! <http://www.arena.it/arena/en/shows/roberto-bolle-and-friends-2016.html>


Thanks for the heads up on Sarah Lane's performances! Daniel Ubricht's "Stars of American Ballet" will include Sarah Lane, and will perform in Chicago on August 23rd as part of the Chicago Dancing Festival. This is the opening night performance, which will be at the Auditorium Theatre, and is free. Tickets will be released online July 21,2016 at noon. (Central Time) For more information, check out the Auditorium Theatre site for the best information, or the Chicago Dancing Festival site for a list of free performances all week at different venues. The theatre itself is lovely!

This is great news about Sarah. Perhaps she'll follow Stella's trajectory of making her name on foreign soil and then getting a lucky break at ABT. Although I don't wish an injury on anyone....

Dear Haglund.
I've lurked about your blog for many years but have never commented. I owe you a long overdue thanks for your many insights and opinions. I truly enjoy your commentary and good taste.

Along the lines of Boylston's lack of adherence to style, I'm not sure if you saw this exchange on the instagram (https://www.instagram.com/p/BHcVWhyBIg8/?taken-by=cshevydance), but it seems that she is not alone in abandoning some of the stylistic requirements of the Ratmanksy Sleeping Beauty ("doggy attitude"!).

If the AD and marketing people don't care, perhaps Ratmanksy does? My hope is that he will champion Lane and Part to some extent going forward. He has created roles for both of them, if I'm not mistaken: Part in "On the Dnieper" and Lane in "The Tempest."

Too bad that we're getting Millepied's Daphnis and Chloe instead of Ashton's gem. But at least we're getting Ashton's Symphonic Variations.

Daisy, thanks for your comment and the link. The pictured soloist's comment reflects an unprofessional attitude and adolescent flippancy. Ratmansky wasn't in town for these performances and this is the sort of thing that can happen when the quality of the production is left in McKenzie's care. When one sees the lack of interest in Boylston, Trenary, and Shevchenko in trying their hardest to meet the exacting standards that Ratmansky set, it's a sure sign that McKenzie doesn't take it seriously either.

Mark Twain: What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?


You can follow along to get continuous updates on the Stars of American Ballet Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stars-of-American-Ballet/169598303220368


Of course we don't want to wish an injury on anyone, but how about wishing for a pregnancy, a windfall gain from a lottery jackpot, or a better opportunity somewhere far out of town.

Haglund, you always come up with the perfect scenario!

So true about the attitudes Daisy and Haglund and it all reflects towards the strength... Or lack there of...the directorship & maybe even the power of the board to allow this to happen IMO!

Hmmm...I'm inclined to accept minor deviations here and there if they allow the artists to breathe life into the roles, rather than feel unduly restrained. I could have sworn that in her variation following the Rose Adagio, Stella did her chaine turns on pointe, rather than on demi-pointe as specified by Ratmansky. This didn't really detract at all from her overall lovely performance. I thought it might have been habit kicking in rather than a purposeful deviation from the Ratmansky choreography.

I really enjoyed Trenary's performance. I think of it as an incredibly promising debut rather than a fully fleshed-out interpretation. In certain elements -- her chaine turns en demi pointe and the way she connected with her four suitors -- I thought she excelled more than others. Overall, I thought she articulated the steps very clearly and cleanly. In future runs of the performance, I'll pay more attention to the height of the passe foot in pirouettes (I admit that I didn't focus on this).

Boylston definitely has technical virtuosity (she held her balances a long time, and she pulled off the shell balance thing very well), but her dancing didn't exude a great deal of joy or grace. I have to say that in her Act III variation, her lightning fast chaine turns on pointe were dazzling, but technical razzle-dazzle is not what this production is all about. I much preferred Stella and Trenary's warmth, ease and emotional honesty on stage. (I didn't see Sarah this season after attending her somewhat tentative performance last year. I wish I had, though, since by all accounts she was back in top form.)

In any case, I thought the company did extremely well in Ratmansky's absence, but I hope for the sake of all that he checks in for future runs.

Just looked at the instagram link sent from Daisy and am distressed by the off-handed arrogance of the dancer's remark.

Hi F.o.F.

I agree that in most cases, choreographers want dancers' input into coloring the steps. However, in this instance, we have a situation where this staging is being ballyhooed as the definitive, authoritatively-Petipa staging with details provided as to what makes it so. That some of the dancers disregard the set style in such a cavalier way suggests loose reins by McKenzie and loose respect for the artistic product.

Without saying so, those involved in setting this production have called into question the authenticity of the Mariinsky's reconstruction as well as the fine production that Anthony Dowell put together because they do not observe the styling and details that ABT/Ratmansky have claimed for their production.

I happen to know that people from other parts of Europe are planning to attend these performances in Paris hoping to see a historically accurate reconstruction. It's already going to be a problem for a few of them that the program doesn't clarify which dances are Ratmansky's own and which are from the Stepanov notes. My advice to them has been that when they see the hyperactive, arm waving, childish choreography during the scene in which Carabosse and her rats arrive, they'll immediately see Ratmansky's markings all over it and know that Petipa would never have set something like that.

But to have dancers who simply would rather not comply with the style & step requirements and prefer to do what they're comfortable doing is truly outrageous.

When Parisians see Boylston's goopy upper body and lax foot placement, they'll likely note that she's the one who Ben dumped for Natalie. Then when they see Sarah's perfection in styling, they'll note: Oh, yeah, she's the beautiful classical dancer who called out Natalie for rudely taking credit for her dancing.

Could not agree with you more Haglund! However, the case for Sarah will only happen if she gets casted! Let's hope she will vs others at this point :(

Imagine the outrage if she didn't get cast as Aurora. She and Cornejo are the only couple who have ever performed their roles and the steps exactly as Ratmansky interpreted from the Stepanov notes. They are the only ones who perform the original ending to the Wedding PdD.

If ABT really wanted to show off all that Ratmansky reconstructed, they would put Sarah and Herman on stage opening night.

True again Haglund :) let us hope they're not that stupid!

What is the back story of why the Lane/Cornejo cast performs the Stepanov ending to the 3rd Act PdD instead of the fish dives? I have heard it suggested that Cornejo isn't up to that particular partnering challenge as opposed to it being a more authentically historic option. Not buying that story but wondered why this cast was singled out for something different.

Well ABT is doing 10 performances so it's fair to say they'll have to put together at least 5 casts (worst case scenario, no fewer than 4). I have a friend who saw all SB cast this year at the MET. She says that ABT should not cast Hee Seo for the Paris tour (then cited a very shaky Rose Adagio as the reason why). Also said that while Trenary was nice for a first time Aurora, she's too rookie and unpolished for the European ballletomanes (she herself is European and is a very tough one). As far as casting Aurora her picks were, in this order, Lane, Abrera, Murphy, Boylston ("not nice to watch but she's reliable with technique" she said), with Trenary/Seo as a reserve. Of course, knowing ABT, you just know Seo will be in at least 2 casts and Boylston will most likely be the opening night Aurora. Always count on McKenzie to make good casting decisions.....


The back story has been widely reported. Ratmansky knew that the audience expected fish dives and he didn't want to disappoint. He also wanted to see the notated version performed because it is quite lovely. IMO it is possible to see exactly how the fish dives evolved from the original choreography. Ratmansky asked Sarah and Herman to do the original choreography, and they obliged and made it look beautiful.

Silvie, I'll bet you hit it on the nose with your predictions.

I hope ABT has sufficient rehearsal time to get accustomed to the raked stage in Paris.

I wonder if perhaps the Opera Bastille stage isn't raked since it is a modern stage. But if it is, uh-oh... 🙀

I just checked with someone who would know and you are correct about the Bastille stage, Haglund.

Let's hope there is enough rehearsal time to get the company ready and hope for the best, or I agree with Haglund that it will be a big .... uh-oh :(

Haglund, do you have any idea why Herman is not scheduled to appear in the fall season? (http://www.abt.org/insideabt/news_display.asp?News_ID=556)

I don't know CMM. Herman is scheduled to dance in the City Center program Vail Dance Festival/ReMix NYC November 3-6 which is only a few days after ABT concludes the fall season.

Maybe Herman has performing dates lined up with Alessandra. Quite possible. But his absence from the fall season makes it all the more uninteresting.

Ratmansky just posted this on Facebook: "for those who are interested or skeptical. there is a very simple philosophy behind my recent stagings of the classics - to restore the original choreography of Petipa and Ivanov. no more no less. the notations are very precise about the mechanics of the original steps, which we respectfully follow. I know it is not the only way to stage it, but this is the way I believe in."

Very interesting, L, and thanks for the note. Ratmansky wasn't around for the actual performances this year and didn't see the actual stage output. Liberties were taken, that's a certainty. Maybe (some) discipline will be restored for the Paris performances.

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