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June 24, 2020

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Well, well, well, Haglund. If that wasn’t magnificent, I don’t know what is. What a gem of a Giselle is Oksana Maslova! Arian Molina Soca indeed danced his A2 solo as if his life depended on it and, boy, what a partner in those adagio tabletop lifts. I had to replay them immediately - what “on demand” is all about. And oh that Peasant pdd In A1. On and on and on, great dancing and acting all around.

My only quibbles are with the music...Angel seems to love slicing up classical scores. He did the same with Minkus’ Don Q. Maybe he doesn’t realize that true ballet lovers know these scores inside-out? I also found the orchestral sound a bit thin - not as many instruments at the dress rehearsal? This was minor in the big scheme of things. A fabulous night overall. I’ll be replaying this one a lot before the link disappears.

These performances are videoed from the back of the parterre section underneath a balcony. I doubt that they ever envisioned using them in this manner. You can hear the audience talking and in some instances the videographer talking. From the location underneath the balcony, the music can sound a little thin and the applause from the audience doesn't thunder as it does out from under the balcony. I'm fairly sure that this was the opening night performance--otherwise, Albrecht ripped the entire head off the daisy more than once.

True, Angel takes liberties with the scores to make everything zip along at a fast pace. His La Bayadere this past March was the best example yet. I referred to the production as the Acela version because of the speed it attained while skipping certain stops along the way to its destination.

I, too, will be watching this Giselle several more times. What a treat.

Holy Moley, Haglund! I just watched the latest PAB offering, Jorma Elo’s TRIGGER TOUCH FADE (to glorious Bach & Handel). Don Q and Giselle, as fine as they were, fade into my back memories once I hopped along for Elo’s high-flying ride. Woohoo! What more can a balletomane who loves classical music danced on pointe ask for? This wins Jeannette’s New Choreography Trophy for the COVID streaming season, hands down, the much-touted San Fco Unbound Festival included. And what dancers at PAB...from the two solo couples - Maslova/Liang in red and DiPiazza/Baca in blue— to every one of the eight corps members...absolutely first-class all the way. I’m crying tears of joy as I write this. I will jump on Amtrak to see this once the world returns to normal and this is once again programmed. Truly - the highlight of my COVID-19 streaming season, right up there with Stuttgart giving us Cranko’s INITIALS R.B.M.E.

Jeannette, since I couldn't get into tonight's performance of Glass Pieces due to a malfunctioning link, I watched Trigger Touch Fade a second time.

Truly every ballet company should have one Jorma Elo dance in its rep – but probably not more. I did a little experiment where I ran Trigger along side excerpts from Elo's Glow Stop and Slice to Sharp and found that all of the choreography went well with the Trigger music. Glow Stop and Slice to Sharp could have been sections of Trigger.

That small complaint aside, I thought that the PdD by Oksana Maslova and Zecheng Liang was quite beautiful and that a lot of the ensemble work was electric. All of the choreography was blessedly musical. One of the things that I appreciate about Elo's choreography is his use of symmetry which seems to have a bad rep with today's most popular uber-contemporary choreographers.

Having not watched any Elo work in a dozen years –– the last time being ABT's C to C (Close to Chuck) –– I was surprised by how much I did like Trigger.

The costume design was stunning, especially the red version. I don't recall the designer's name but he/she definitely studied up on what Jorma Elo wanted for Glow Stop and Slice to Sharp and then took the designs to a much higher level.

Now, will someone please get that link to Glass Pieces fixed?

Oksana Maslova and Jermel Johnson were both sublime in the central pdd of Glass Pieces! I hope that you got your link to work, Haglund.

I fixed the link myself. The link pasted into the email was missing a dot between wordfly and com. In other words, instead of email.wordfly.com, it was email.wordflycom which sent the entire link awry. If anyone has trouble fixing their links, send me an email.

Whoa -- are you ever right about that PdD! Both dancers are stunning! I must say that watching Oksana Maslova's geometric precision against the backdrop of graph paper made me love this ballet even more. It was like watching Jerome Robbins maneuver his pencil and compass on the grid squares.

Can you imagine how tired these dancers were after this program of DGV, Trigger, and Glass Pieces?

Such a handsome company. I really hope that they can keep everyone together over the next 6 months. This Front Row Festival may turn out to be the silver lining of an otherwise very ugly storm cloud. They really deserve our support right now.

Oksana Maslova and Zecheng Liang make an excellent, dynamic pair. So glad to have such a close look at this company.

Haglund,

Do you have a link to Glass Pieces that works? I can't figure out what to do?

Thanks in advance.

(Last night I watched the Don Quixote. That was really enjoyable, I must say.)

It can be a bit of a complicated, multi-step process to fix these links. I just emailed it to you.

What a fabulous DGV! It was so great to see Ana Calderon (2nd PdD) who we loved watching at Corella Ballet, then Houston Ballet, and finally PA Ballet. She's now dancing for Joaquin de Luz in Spain.

Bravi to PA Ballet for its First Rate, Top-of-the-Line digital festival which helped ease our anxieties during this time. We happily bestow upon the Front Row Festival this First Position HH Pump Bump Award:

ITA, Haglund. A spectacularly delivered DGV, which I’ve seen several times before by the Royal and NYCB, yet PAB takes the cake. It’s amazing that PAB dances this high-energy ballet in a triple bill that also included Glass Pieces and the new Elo...themselves very high-energy works. Whew! Furthermore, I would reserve an extra pump slipper for a fab dancer who was featured in all three works - Zecheng Liang!

I couldn't agree more about Zecheng Liang. He was a spectacular Solor in La Bayadere in March -- the last time I saw the company on stage. I almost didn't go because COVID was looking quite serious, but I packed a load of Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, and mask, and road in the back of Amtrak's Business Class (which was nearly empty) so as to avoid contact with people. When I got to the theater, the ushers were wearing plastic gloves, too. In retrospect, it may not have been a wise risk to take, but I'm glad that I went. It was such a good performance.

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