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October 18, 2018


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I went to ABT's gala last night (mostly as an excuse to dress up although I didn't attend the dinner, and to see In the Upper Room). I enjoyed Le Jeune and would see it again. I found the new Dorrance interminable, mind-numbing, and energy-sapping. I felt quite drained after watching it, but to be fair I was already quite grumpy from listening to Misty and some other ABT member ramble on nervously for what felt like hours about how great ABT is just prior. Serves me right for going on the gala evening, I guess! In the Upper Room was very good. I was glad to finally see it.

Afterward, ABT sent me an email asking my detailed thoughts on the program and ABT in general. Interesting -- are they worried due to how poorly this season is selling?

Well, AMJ, I hope you will give them your "detailed thoughts".

ABT's strategy of moving ballet forward by moving it out of ballet while continually pushing Copeland, Boylston, and Seo in everyone's faces isn't a strategy that is going to succeed with the core audience. Sorry, it just isn't.

Edited to add Whiteside to that list.

Jane Eyre should excite me (I adore the novel) but I know it will just be another vehicle for Seo, Copeland, and Boylston so I'm already not interested.

Ha! Haglund, I see you had the same thought as me regarding the same tiresome dancers.

Haglund, I was at the fifth preview of "King Kong" and I agree with everything that you said. My mouth was literally agape at the awfulness of what I was seeing onstage. It truly could be one of the all-time most awful things I have ever seen in the theater, Kong puppet aside. Ann wails a hip-hop number while the chorus girls behind her twerked with their large feather stage fans! The depression-era apple seller who had an unexpected talent for break dance! Any of Leonard Pinth-Garnell's (Dan Akroyd's character from SNL) famous phrases could neatly sum up what is onstage: Monumentally ill-advised! Stunningly bad! Exquisitely awful! It could be one of those legendary bad musicals that people talk about for year and years, and ask themselves WHY? I definitely saved my program from this.

Jane Eyre looks alright but nothing that would display grand classical technique.

I'm just dreading another Spring season that only showcases 2 dancers that no one wants to watch and 1 that people will tolerate if they have to do so. What is worse is that they are all over the company marketing brochures.

While I’d welcome a starring opening-night role for Gillian, I’m wondering if a Jane Eyre ballet would appeal to ABT’s traditional ballet-loving audience. I was secretly hoping that we’d get Ratmansky’s new-old La Bayadere next spring. It’s about to premiere in Berlin (Nov. 4) and, to my understanding, is it not a co-production with another troupe, as often is the case nowadays. The designs by Jerome Kaplan look scrumptious and will include a final temple-destruction act. Sigh.

Susan, I was so psyched going into the show that I bought a Kongpile of souvenirs at the kiosk. I'll probably wear the socks, but won't be caught dead in the hat or tee-shirt.

The show isn't selling very well. On the second night, the audience was filled with producer types huddling and looking worried.

Sarah Lane just announced on her IG at noon today that she’ll be stepping in for Hee for Other Dances tonight!


I'm so glad Lane has an opportunity to dance more this fall.

I also love the look of a small female dancer with a tall male dancer. It just looks very romantic

ABT announced Spring Season 2019 at 8 weeks.

Note Murphy not cast in Jane Eyre.

Look forward to the Lane/Cornejo Manon.

Quite a debut season for Aran Bell, who makes debuts in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

re. ABT Met season: I’m most excited about the new Ratmansky/Glazunov The Seasons, with designs by Perdziola, who was responsible for the luxurious Tsarist splendor of Harlequinade last year. No Stepanov notations exist for Petipa’s Seasons, so Ratmansky will have to reimagine...which he has done so well in the past (as he did at the Bolshoi to fill-in parts of Corsaire that had not been notated). If I can only attend one show at the Met next year, this will be it!

Yes, it will be interesting to see. Unfortunately, the score seems ripe for a lot of Ratmansky's cliches. One can almost already see the busy running around, sudden collapses, dancers collected together in a bunch while waving at the audience. I hope that Ratmansky tries very, very hard to come up with something original that is also classical without any infantile gibberish. As you say, the designs are indeed something to get excited about.

Leafing through the Met's calendar online, I noticed that Olga Smirnova was cast in Manon (June 17 & 20 as L's mistress) and Le Corsaire (June 12 & 15 as Guinare). I hadn't read anything about this in any of the press releases so I went to the ABT site and there was no listing for her on those dates. I appreciate that we've been seeing more opportunities for the homegrown principals lately (unfortunately the wrong ones, more often than not) but I would have liked to have seen Olga without the 13 hour flight to Moscow...

Oh, my. I hope that's a mistake because it appears that she could wipe out a number of Stella's dwindling performances. I'm going to post this up top and see if some kind of announcement or change is made.

I loved Yoko. She taught a little bit while she was leaving ABT, she was a wonderful teacher. Learned more from her in an hour than most teachers in a year! I wondered what happened to her! Thanks for mentioning her.

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