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June 17, 2022

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Yes indeed, Haglund, Shevy hit it out of the ballpark yesterday, with her phenomenal leaps and turns, and her comedic timing. I'm going to see her in EVERYTHING! She's a world class ballerina, and should be dancing to international acclaim. Let's hope the new AD will make that happen. I always enjoy Katie Williams, and I especially loved her acting in the conspiracy to keep Kitri away from her father's eyes. Calvin handled the cape magnificently. Only thing, I'd like to see his feet spend more time with the theraband to get them to point all the time.

Schevchenko was THE Kitri of the Kennedy Center run of Don Qs in early April…with Stearns, who surprised in his own subtle way…but I can only imagine a Schevy-Bell pdd!!! Lucky you to have experienced it all.

Did you notice that ABT will be hosting a free disco party on the LC Plaza after tomorrow night’s Don Q? James Whiteside will be the DJ. That should be a hoot.

I can’t wait for next week’s reports on the new Ratmansky, OF LOVE AND RAGE, which I saw in early March 2020 in Costa Mesa (all perfs/casts then). I’ll keep my mouth shut and anxiously await New Yorkers’ reports. Hint: Be on the lookout for some high-flying Babylonian guards, near the top of Act II…assuming that Ratmansky has kept that number.
Enjoy, all!

Looking forward to Of L&R next week. I wonder what the point of the preposition "Of" is . . .

Well, well, well. Jonathan Klein has shown up on the ABT website as being cast as Mercutio for two performances -- including the Cornejo/Trenary cast. Looking forward to seeing that.

Haglund, Great reviews as usual. Welcome back to ABT where you belong.

Jose, thanks much. Good to hear from you.

Rah Rah! Sis Boom Bah! Haglund, you are the greatest cheerleader ABT has. I enjoyed seeing Simkin at the matinee, I miss his bravura. Schevchenko is the real deal and Bell is a great young talent. I hope that when Jaffe comes on board she gets a new marketing department to sell tickets! I remember when ballet stars made the rounds on TV shows to plug their performances. Veronika Part was so classy on Letterman. They seemed more like celebrities. Twitter and Instagram seem small.

I remember Veronika in that teal blue dress on Letterman. Classy, indeed.

Thanks for that. I am looking forward to seeing Skylar & Herman in Don Q tomorrow and Shevchenko & Bell in Theme and Variations in July. I was surprised when I looked at the calendar the other day to see they are not only doing it opening night, July 7, but now also Saturday night, July 9. I thought four different couples were doing the four performances (though I can't remember which couple was to do that last performance). Do you have that recollection or am I imagining things?

Allie, I don't recall what the initial casting of that July 9th performance was. Note, however, that the evening is going to be a "celebration" for McKenzie.

Not to increase the pressure on a pressure-filled time, but IMO, Theme and Variations is the most important event of the season. I want so badly to see a performance that perhaps will never again be humanly possible. It's all in the hands of Shevchenko, Bell, and Barker.

Shevchenko and Bell were scheduled for both performances(July 7th and 9th) from the beginning. There never was the 4th couple. All three principal women are more than qualified for the lead in T&V. I'm actually looking forward to Teuscher knowing her technical consistency and athleticism. Her unassuming stage presence is a huge plus in this role. Mind you, she's the only one of them who has the role in her rep and she was excellent in it. What makes me nervous is her workload throughout the season and the fact that her partner Ahn is debuting in this very challenging role. I sincerely wish all the principals stay healthy throughout the season. The company as a whole looked quite good so far this week... perhaps because they've been rehearsing DonQ since early Spring.

Thanks, yes, when I first saw they were also doing it July 9 I was disappointed as I had already gotten tix for the 7th and might have preferred the weekend night,despite the later curtain.But now that you mention it, that McKenzie celebration thing is something I would rather pass on (actually, I thougt his celebration was the gala night).

As much as I would love to see T&V with Schevy-Bell, I cannot torture myself with more ZIGZAG and the Alonzo King, after suffering at the Kennedy Center last month. The woke programming team at the KC didn’t even have the decency to include T&V in the bill…we got Bernstein in a Bubble instead.

The cost of a day-trip to NYC to see one 25-min ballet is too high, with Amtrak & taxis + ticket.

Jeannette,

This kind of programming is a lot more economical than putting on a 3-bill of classical-based works that require loads of rehearsal time to refine to a particular standard. These dancers can blow away Lang and King while in 2nd gear. Pretty much anything that the dancers dish up will be fine.

Maybe when Jaffe takes over, she'll be able to bring back rep programming material such as Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto, Wheeldon's Thirteen Diversions, Kylian's Symphonietta, Lander's Etudes, Quanz's Kaleidoscope (beautiful costumes), Welch's Clear -- all of which require exacting classical technique that requires, uh hum, rehearsal time.

I'm convinced that we're getting junk at the moment because it's cheap -- like meatloaf instead of meat.

Eulalia Johnson here with her two cents to toss into the pot. Was at the matinee today (Saturday). Cornejo retains his elegance, his line, his charm, his devotion to the notion that all movement must be beautiful. Many of his estimable technical attributes were on display. His was the performance of a seasoned professional deserving the description great dancer. At this stage of his career, Cornejo's Basilio did not have the joyous, boastful, "Look, Ma! No hands!" effrontery of Simkin's, which I saw Wednesday. It's not that one danseur is better than the other but that one is younger—which also means that one is older. That said, it was gratifying to see Cornejo embody the nobility fundamental to the art of ballet. That alone is tremendously uplifting.

Brandt's Kitri was, I thought, too hummingbird in Act One, but despite her stature, which at first seemed a disadvantage, she made a brilliant showing in the rest of the ballet. Other standouts among many were Elwince Magbitang’s Gypsy and Roman Zhurbin’s ultra-detailed DQ—not a caricature but a man with a heart and a history. That ABT has on its men’s back bench such talents for Gypsy as Magbitang and Wednesday’s Jonathan Klein (whose Mercutio is sure to be sensational) gives the new AD much gold for hammering into a glittering company. And I think it was Klein who today as a toreador caught the glass that Basilio tossed behind him at the end of Act Two which the first catcher fumbled. I must also mention Rachel Richardson, who subbed as Amour on short notice and did herself credit. The whole show and company gave a black and blue eye to the bully we know as gravity. Lots of us left the opera house not quite touching the floor!

Eulalia,

Thank you so much for the report. Sounds like a wonderful afternoon.

Yes, indeed, Rachel Richardson was quite the scurry-skimming Amour in both performances that I saw.

Haglund, I think you’re right about the El-Cheapo factor in mixed-bill programming in DC and elsewhere. New commissions in the name of “diversity” - especially those not requiring tutus, tiaras, pointe shoes and the necessarily rehearsal time for classics - are a whole lot cheaper than programming the Massines, Ashtons and Balanchines that traditional balletomanes crave.

Well, it’s on to OF LOVE AND RAGE soon, complete with fancy-schmanzy “OF” preposition I n the title, LOL! Since I saw it in Calif, I’m really curious to read New York reports! Just two days to go…tick-tock.

I would have picked a different preposition. How about "Between Love and Rage" or "Through Love and Rage" or "Toward Love and Rage" or "Within Love and Rage". Maybe Love and Rage without any preposition was already copyrighted. I'm sure there is an interesting backstory and that we've piqued everyone's curiosity with the question: What's the meaning of Of?

“The best laid plans of mice and men gang oft aglae” or something like that, wrote Robert Burns. So perhaps this is a tale of love and rage.

Was also at the Saturday matinee, Eulalia, and I will double down on praise for Herman - he so nicely embodies Basilio and indeed isn't so "look at me" - instead, he's a gracious enough dancer that when Skylar held the first balance in attitude in the wedding pas for what seemed like 5 minutes, he actually looked at HER like "look at what my new wife can do!". I was also impressed with the one-handed lifts in both Act I and III - in the second lift in Act I, Herman went into releve. He also subtly showed the audience in Act III that she was turning all on her own by removing one of his hands during a series of (what are normally) supported turns.

Loved that the conductor allowed the orchestra to linger on the first one-hand lift in Act I while Skylar triumphantly shook that tambourine.

Haglund, you'll be pleased to learn that Skylar had some spit curls (nearer the ears) and red lips on Saturday! She had a early balance check in her Act III fouettes, but recovered like the champ that she is. I am sad that she and Herman presumably won't have a long partnering career together given his age.

I thought the cast was terrific overall. Gabe has a beautiful supple back and was able to move that cape like a pro. I noticed some fit issues with his bolero jacket, but that didn't take away from his bravura, showy bullfighter, Espada. I echo Haglund's praise of Cassie's Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads.

Elwince's gypsy was FANTASTIC.

One thing that bugged about the performance was the stark white, glittery, "hobby lobby"-looking fans the corps ladies carry in Act I. None of the costumes have white in them, so they really stood out both in terms of color contrast and uniformity. But this is obviously a minor complaint.

Onto Of Love and Rage next week!

Rachel, thanks much. Yep, just saw a picture of the spit curls.

Glad to hear that the performance went so well. Now that we have some pretty good cast options along with up & coming dancers like McBride, Klein, Magbitang, Crispino, and Carlos Gonzales (where is he?), it would be great to see this production again next year. Waiting two or three years will simply allow the best of the best to start withering on the vine.

Hernan it’s such a beautiful dancer, his Basilio was great, it’s just amaizing how his body is there for him, the attack for turns and timing for jumps seem so natural for him even at this stage of his career. Skyler was a queen, her principal quality was in every details
, from pantomime to how she or her couches chooses the little things in her solos and pas de deux. If some production as you mention are EL Cheapo, Skyler has put dimonds in her dancing.

Rachel, what wonderfully well chosen details to describe yesterday's matinee. La Marche Wednesday afternoon also allowed the tambourine lifts to last and last. Pure circus and thrilling to the core!

Folks who are planning on attending performances of OF LOVE AND RAGE in NYC….may want to read reports of the Costa Mesa performances, which I posted in the great Balletcoforum site:

https://www.balletcoforum.com/topic/22315-ratmansky%E2%80%99s-new-ballet-for-abt-of-love-and-rage/

My longer report, on Mar 10, 2020, provides a “blow-by-blow” of highlights in each scene…as well as an appreciation of the wild geographic roaming of the leading characters…from Syracuse (Sicily) to ancient cities on the Black Sea, to quick-trips up the road to Babylon! Enjoy!

Thanks, Jeannette!

Of Love and Rage was the last live ballet I attended in Costa Mesa before the pandemic shut down. Hurlin and Bell were the leads, with Whiteside and Stearns as Dionysius and Mithridates. Since I'm not a Ratmansky fan, I was surprised just how much I enjoyed this production. Complicated serious story, lush scenery and interesting choreography, a full length "classic" and thank goodness, no kids. Enjoy.

Thanks, Christina!

First night of Love and Rage and the balcony and FC virtually empty. I peered down into the DC and the orchestra and saw lots of empties. Enjoyed the ballet enough to want to see another cast and TDF has it up from Wednesday through Saturday, so booked for Saturday evening. Bell, Hurlin and Camargo were magnificent. Go!

Thanks, Golden Idol, for the reminder about the TDF tickets. I'll post about the production after I've seen tonight's and possibly Wednesday's casts. I enjoyed it as well.

Go, indeed! All of what I’ve heard from friends who attended last night are mostly positive. Yeah! If I were in the USA now (rather than working in Bogota for next two weeks), I’d see it again in NY.

Go go go!

I should also add that Camargo should be offered a contract as a principal with ABT as soon as possible!

While we await Haglund’s overall report on OLAR…voila!: a very positive review by The NY Times’ Gia Kourlas!!! The Wokes can eat crow! 😉

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/21/arts/dance/review-ratmansky-of-love-and-rage.html

I'll try to get something up by tomorrow night, but I want to see two or maybe three performances beforehand.

Totally understandable, Haglund. It will be worth the wait, no doubt! 🍿 🍿 🍿

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