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November 01, 2018

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I'm with you on much of this assessment, but I couldn't disagree more about the Russians (well, the Korean and the Russian). Very impressive technique, and remarkable jumps from Kim. But---rather than seeming full of joy and musicality, they were full of themselves. I thought they hardly danced together at all. Unmusical, uninspired--except to show off. It was very interesting to see the two Royal dancers who were (admittedly) a bit lackluster on Wednesday then blaze through Tschai Pas on Thursday. They were 20 times better than the Mariinsky dancers in my opinion, and in the opinion of the three (very knowledgable former dancers) I was with.

The only thing that I saw that could be construed as the artists being "full of themselves" might have been the lengthy bows -- but that's a cultural thing. Everyone knows that the Russian dancers hang out for the applause for a lot longer than the (ahem, ahem) modest Americans. The long soaking in of applause right after the first pdd often has a purpose. It's to give the guy a breather before he has to walk upstage to start his variation.

The Koreans may actually out-do the Russians when it comes to milking bows. I started laughing at the end of the recent K'Ballet performance at City Center when the whole troupe just kept coming forward and coming forward and coming forward. It seemed to last longer than the second act.

It just wouldn't have seemed right – would it? – for the NY City Center folks to tell the Mariinsky folks, "Look, your bows irk the New York audience. Could you tamp 'em back a little bit?"

I agree that the RB dancers really brought their game up on the second night. Compared to their performance on the first night, they were spectacular. But I wouldn't say they rose to the level of or exceeded Kim & Tereshkina. Their fish dives were riskier, definitely – but better? There's probably disagreement there.

Re: the opinions of former dancers: There is a tendency on the part of former NYCB dancers to proclaim vigorously that the way they were taught is the only right way. There were several different Balanchine-approved versions of his Tschai PdD (and many other ballets) danced within his company and outside.

These days we have former dancers from other companies (and even some non-dancers) proclaiming that the way in which the stager set a work on their regional company is the only correct way. Anything that appears different from what they personally know is "wrong". Exhibit A: smiling by the muses in Apollo.

Hopefully I'll get a review up of last night's performance by the end of tomorrow. It will probably be contrary to most of the experts.

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