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May 22, 2018


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I guess I am old school. I go to the ballet for the dancing, beautiful music and sets and costumes. I don’t mind the occasional modern work which expands horizons. But the depiction of a child being gassed is beyond my sensibilities and frankly a bunch of horse hockey. No thank you. What was ABT thinking?

ITA, MoMo. What ABT was thinking was that they could count on the NYT and others to write volumes about it and perhaps splash a big picture of the smoke coming out of the chamber to further glamorize the violence for them. It was the exact same type of gimmick as the grabbing and fondling of Misty Copeland's tits gimmick at the fall gala some years ago. ABT can't get attention by doing anything right; so they have screw up royally in order to get their media.

I forgot to add in my review that the turnout for this gala was not robust. There were many, many empty seats in the orchestra level. This is a dying company under leadership that is responsible for killing it. If anyone should be gassed for the pleasure and entertainment of the audience, it should be the leadership.

BTW, Diana Vishneva was sitting front row center. I hope she saw enough of what Ferri could not do so that she doesn't go down that route herself.

I bought a last-minute ticket to the gala just to see Craig Salstein’s farewell. I’ve always enjoyed his performances, and I thought his Hilarion in last year’s Giselle was a great achievement. Unfortunately, I never expected I’d also be sitting through one of the most offensive and pretentious pieces of choreography I’ve seen in many years. I found it offensive mostly because it offends the intelligence of the audience. Did the choreographer imagine that a New York audience would think he had an important message to impart via the post-apocalyptic setting and endless, repetitive torso writhing (among other things)? This is exactly the kind of hackneyed work that is fodder for parody by late-night comedians and TV sketch comedy shows (and deserves to be parodied as such), as well as anyone else unfamiliar with ballet or modern dance. Most especially because it was pretty much a parody in and of itself. Ugh.

The Harlequinade costumes are indeed gorgeous and I can’t wait to see it. I’ll be avoiding all performances with the two adolescent “Cindys” (had enough of them last night) and instead checking out the show with Cirio and Lane, two dancers whose skills and complementary lyricism I know will be a great joy to see.

Thanks, LLF.

That's the Harlequinade cast I plan to see, also.

So as I see it, lots of little girls are going to flock to see Misty in Firebird this week and then watch the next ballet in which a bunch of nasty adults gas a little girl to death.

I think gassing a child to death qualifies as adult content, viewer discretion advised.

I still marvel at ABT’s stupidity with pairing Firebird with the new McGregor. With the Misty Firebird Barbie, a chunk of the audience will be families who want to get a glimpse at the Celebrina.

Only having seen rehearsals of McGregor works on the Royal Ballet YouTube, it’s enough to tell you that his work isn’t for children. It’s an astounding oversight in programming. They could’ve paired it with another short ballet that might get the Misty-fans interested in their other dancers that are actually worth watching.

It seems to me the only thing consistent about ABT is its ability to alienate audiences. Balletomane or no, you’re sure to find something to dislike.

I’m already sad NYCB’s spring season is coming to a close. I’m sorry you had to sit through that garbage, but I certainly appreciate your reports.

Dorrance piece was an accident waiting to happen to someone’s ankle and otherwise thoughtless. After I’ve seen the Tanztheatre Whoppertal Sacre this was pathetic and the whole gas chamber business is criminal. Loved the costumes for Harlequinnade but not the dancing. ABT is dying

OMG! Just dance, that is exactly what I thought too! Plus that is something for a much smaller venue or the Joyce. Hopefully this isn't coming back to haunt us for the Fall Season as I do believe she is part of the Female Choreographer series they have announced! These days I feel like ABT should stand for American Broadway Theatre :( I am all for progress and new works but for the better not reverse. Thank goodness we have NYCB!

Any reports of any unhappy parents from last night's performance? I'm so curious.

Rachel, I don't know of anyone who has actually purchased a ticket to this bill. Some went to the gala to see the new McGregor in order to avoid Firebird. This week of performances was on TDF for quite a while but is still embarrassingly undersold but for big uniform blocks of tickets which obviously were giveaways. I imagine that there will be plenty of people who will watch this and will never want to see an ABT performance again. Then there are those McGregor fans who are like Forsythe fans who wildly applaud everything and anything the choreographer does.

Heard it explained from McKenzie's mouth as: Tap was the "American", Ratmansky the "Ballet", and McGregor, the "Theater"........ Just putting that out there.........

McKenzie has offered that gimmicky pitch before. His other pitch, also over-used and just as strained for authenticity, is that the choreographer "breaks all the rules". McKenzie is one stale cliché after another.

I find it annoyingly simplistic as a vision, however gimmicky, for what is supposed to be America's ballet company.

I wonder if he thinks he can pull off what Peter Martins did with the fashion galas: turn middling creations into good PR for the company. God knows the only thing you seem to need to get NYT’s stamp of approval these days is to have same-sex partnering.

So true, yukionna. I find it so interesting that Macaulay always uses the term "same-sex" partnering and cannot seemingly bring himself to use the term homosexual, which is what he is trying to convey and solicit more of in the world of ballet. He frequently uses the term heterosexual but avoids the use of the word homosexual. I wonder if it is his own discomfort with the word or a NYT editorial choice. I tend to think it's his own choice since NYT these days will print any word that will bring them clicks.

The Celebrina Columbine is no more. She's been replaced by Skylar Brandt on both performance dates. Good for Skylar (and Simkin). Call me crazy, but I totally saw this coming.
She hasn't been pulled from any other show, so they can't claim a fake injury this time. I'm sure they will anyway.

It may be that Ratmansky is tired of making Version 2 for her in his ballets because she can't do the steps. But the Met website is messed up at the moment (yawn). It's showing Skylar dancing both the Wed mat and evening and the Celebrina Saturday evening.

This is absolutely great that Skylar got the call. Now if we could just squeeze her into the Celebrina's Don Q., that would be perfect. And if we could knock some sense into McKenzie about the unethical casting of the fakerina in TWO Swan Lakes after years of not being able to do the steps, we might make room for Sarah's Swan Lake.

We also have to give that little Betsy McBride a push for these roles that require top tier virtuoso skills. Misty has had her time in the spotlight and she proved her own mediocrity. Time to move on.

Thrilled for Skylar! I would love to see the results of her work with Mariinsky coaches at the Met stage.

Duncan Lyle was sensational Saturday afternoon in "Firebird" substituting for Zhurbin.
What a talent and what a total performance. Whatever ailed Shevchenko at the Wednesday afternoon "Giselle" was nowhere in evidence yesterday. She was superb as Firebird, as was Hurlin in the seconda role.

The McGregor made the mistake of so much contemporary art (in all media) in its manifestation of the choreographer's conviction that somehow ugliness and brutality are more honest and real than is beauty. A genuine avant-garde of our time will be made only if the works it produces demonstrate the resurrection of that correction of thought. Otherwise, going to the theatre or to art galleries will be excursions to the Gobi when what one's soul longs for is the water of Love and Life.

Does Haglund have the inside scoop on why Brandt replaced Celebrina as Columbine? Inability to perform hops on pointe, perhaps? If so, BRAVO to Ratmansky for refusing to water down the choreography!

Ha! No inside info, I'm afraid. Perhaps reality has sunk in at ABT? Or perhaps Ratmansky is tired of making Version 2 of everything in order to accommodate her.

The celebrina is no longer "the face" of Firebird either. The flashy poster with flames shooting out of her ass has been replaced with a picture of Stearns as the evil Kaschei. Maybe Ratmansky got sick and tired of watching Copeland leverage his ballet to line her own pockets with sales of dolls, books, videos, appearances. She probably made more money off of Ratmansky's ballet than he did at ABT.

Nor did the celebrina get the opening night performance of Firebird.

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