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June 28, 2019


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Haglund!! I purchased tickets to the Devon/Aran Swan Lake with my subscription, because she is “mwah”, and I really do think he is a star in the making :). I was so worried, after unexpectedly being called across the Atlantic, and missing this, that I would hear/read from you a mixed if bad review, but I am so happy to read that Aran acquitted himself admirably!!! I rather liked him last season opposite Devon on R&J, and find him to be a beautiful dancer with a wonderful line and strength that doesn’t compromise the same.

It made me happy to be able to report on such a high quality performance.

Because I wrote the review without the benefit of having the Playbill program which I lost somewhere between Petco Unleashed and Joe's Coffee on Columbus Ave, I inadvertently overlooked mentioning what a star turn Marshall Whiteley took in his own debut as the Swamp Thing. He was fantastic! He was extremely menacing, and the overall scope of his theatrics was very, very impressive. I'd say he won that role for life, if he actually wants it; but we all know that Marshall can actually dance up a storm in standard choreography. It would be nice to see him featured once in a while.

What an exciting review! Thank you for the detail. Bell is indeed a rising star! Let’s hope he gets rewarded for his talent and hard work with a well deserved promotion in the next few days. Teuscher, Shevchenko and Lane have all been spectacular swans.

Last night's performance - the second this week for this principal cast - was also excellent. Unfortunately, it looked like Bell opted for less hair gel, and his bangs were flopping in his face most of the time. It was a distraction especially considering how well-groomed everyone else was on stage. A distraction - but also forgiven considering some of his spectacular output. The double-double tours in the Black Swan PdD worked very well last night. Earlier on he landed some tours with exceptionally steady arabesques. Another very great night for him -- as for Devon Teuscher whose Odette was just as impressive as Odile.

Last night I was reminded how so many of ABT's dancers in the corps and soloist levels have difficulty with beats -- simple entrechat six should not be a problem either for the men or women at this company, but it is. It is rare that one sees an ABT dancer actually open his/her beats before closing. They generally look like chicken-scratching. Even the changement battu royale looked pathetic. There were even problems in the first PdT where Stephanie Williams couldn't manage to beat her cabrioles. When one sees so much of this type of marginal dancing, it makes one wonder about the company's current standards.

Gorak and Klein were good in the Neopolitan with Klein consistently delivering five revolutions in his pirouettes. The guys' beats were nothing to write home about, though...

Carlos Gonzalez gave the little Spanish Dance more shine and umph than we've seen in a long time. His likeability-quotient is very high.

Really?? I feel like I was watching a completely different performance. I’ve never seen Teuscher in a lead role and I’d heard a lot of hype about her Swan Lake do I got tickets for the side Parterre. Pretty close up. I wanted to love her but she was very blank as Odette. I didn’t seem s lot of passion or fear or much of anything but going thru the motions. Her arabesques seemed low to me and the swan arms left a lot to be desired. Her Odile was better, she’s obviously a fantastic turner. But I just don’t get the hype. Management seems to be really promoting her but there are much better interpretations out there.

ArtCity, thanks for your comment. You didn't mention who you thought the "much better interpretations out there" were or even where "out there" is. From my vantage point last night in the mid Grand Tier I saw plenty of everything that I like to see in Odette and Odile.

I would expect that these days if people saw a week of 1970s ABT stars dancing Swan Lake, we would hear complaints like "Cynthia Gregory is okay but I don't like her because she doesn't bend her back like Makarova." "Fracci is okay but I was disappointed that she didn't dance more like Alonso." Steak at Wolfgang's is not the same as steak at Peter Luger's.

I remember seeing Aaron Bell as a young boy competing in YAGP IN the film FIRST POSITION
How wonderful to see his growth as a major dancer.

ITA, Phyllis.

I assume he’s due for promotion. He will have already danced Siegfried, Florimund, and Romeo, Lakenendem, in addition to whatever other featured roles he’s performed in addition to partnering Cate Hurlin at the Erik Bruhn competition and similar events. If he continues on this trajectory, I assume he will be a principal by 22.

And Phyllis, I agree! He was so young and tiny in First Position!!! I remember often googling his name to see what he was up to before I was happily directed one day to the ABT Studio Compant page. The kid ate his Wheaties.

True. Given the propensity for injuries at ABT, Bell might be the first legitimate case where perhaps he should skip the soloist rank and skip the burden of having to do soloist, principal and corps work during the season. He doesn't need any more seasoning as a corps or soloist -- he's been working seriously at performing as a soloist since about age 11. Performing soloist roles isn't going to help him one bit. The only thing that will mature his artistry is more principal roles. But forcing him to invest his body in corps and soloist work will only wear it out more quickly.

I would be wary of setting a precedent like that under which future arguments will be made for other outstanding corps members. It becomes highly subjective, much more so than just the decisions of single-rank promotions. There is a long history in the company of regularly giving principal roles to outstanding soloists who are clearly on track to promotion: Gomes and Murphy, for example, were all regularly given top slots during the Met season. What could happen, and would be more acceptable, is to promote Bell after one year as a soloist. That would still be unprecedented, I believe.

You're probably right. He could be promoted to soloist for a year but not used as a soloist, only as a principal. I think that's mostly what happened to Stearns. But that will be my only and last ever comparison between the two.

Lol - I spent earlier in the week checking the promotion timelines on the current principals. Seems to all be 2 years or more - though I have no recollection of Stearns or Seo doing many soloist roles.

If memory serves, wasn't Whiteside hired as a soloist for one year and then promoted to principal?

Yes, and Cirio, too. It's likely that they were told at the time of hire that it would go that way. McKenzie had to make it look like they were working their way up the ranks because of all the outrage over his import practices.

Whiteside was a principal dancer with Boston Ballet when ABT hired him.

Yes, as was Cirio.

H, I saw Teuscher/Bell Swan last Friday night, and I agree with your comments about Bell. The two of them scared the hell out of me. Bell wizzing around the stage with those legs that never end, landing soundlessly in a perfect 5th (almost) every time. How does he do that??? However, he did manage to run out on stage before someone sprayed back those bangs of his, which unfortunately covered his eyes. And Devon? Nuts! I had my binoculars with me and in the 1st Act when Sigfried first goes to touch the swan, if looks could kill, Odile/Teuscher would have sent Sigfried/Bell to the Late Renaissance equivalent of the morgue. And her 3rd act was right on point (sorry) Fabulous. Question though, is it bad form to shout "Tooosh! Toosch! Toosch!" at curtain calls? Asking for a friend. AND by the way, I havent seen the ABT Swan Lake production in a while. It remains a train wreck. That poor, poor, poor 3rd act.

Gary – Listen, if your friend wants to start a group chant of "Tooosh! Toosch! Toosch!", I'm in – totally. I sort of think that she's probably heard it before during her life – probably during junior high – but what the heck. If you start a chant, someone inevitably will add a syllable and it will become "Tooschy! Tooschy! Tooschy!" But we can deal with that guy if & when it happens.

And it is so. Aran’s promotion announced today!!

Well deserved, too.

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