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November 01, 2022


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I thought the Corps in Dream was fantastic on Sunday afternoon. Although, I think the lighting was a bit too dark and the dancers were blending into the set.

Out of all the leads, I was impressed with Carmago. Murphy and Cornejo were good but I thought they were both a bit too old for the roles.

I was tired and I skipped The Seasons.

ITA about the lighting. It does a disservice to all aspects of the production, but especially to the costumes.

Lighting was too dark and Murphy indeed looked old. Especially compared to the bright young things dancing with her. As always, some dancers hang on way too long.

There are still roles for Gillian but I think she has to be careful not to push through a role simply because she knows that she can get through it. There are extraordinary dancers coming up and it is time to let them dance - to paraphrase the retiring Sterling Hyltin. There's no need to put us through what Julie Kent put us through, though.

Speaking of Julie Kent, what do you think about her moving to the Houston Ballet as co-Artistic Director?

I'm sure that there were a lot of professional and personal factors that went into Julie's decision. Even as a "co-" director, it's still a huge step up in terms of company size and structure. But it comes with a more active hurricane season...

Cassandra Trenary has been a revelation this year. She and Camargo are a great fit. He has much more charm and charisma than the wooden Stearns. I got to see Trenary in the Twyla Tharp show at City Center. She was a standout, along with Ulbrict, McKay and Freemantle. She was sassy and feisty in The Upper Room and smooth and sophisticated in 9 Sinatra Songs. She's got it all.

In regards to Kent's recent move, I wonder how this would affect guest dancer invitations. Sarah Lane is one dancer that guests with Houston quite a bit.

ITA that Cassandra Trenary has really elevated her dancing. She and Camargo had great chemistry.

I disagree with your comments on "Seasons." For me, the most important things in a ballet are, in order: dancing, choreography, music, costumes, sets. I find Ratmansky's choreography stunningly attuned to the music, in a manner that Balanchine perfected. The costumes may be hokey, but I can appreciate what goes on on the stage in spite of them.

Will try this one more time and if I get that error message again I give up. Not complaining, but I was disappointed in Sunday's performance. Maybe was me, I was very tired, and may have expected too much as I looked forward to the Dream with great anticipation. I had seen it previously 5 tines -- 3 times with ABT and twice with Royal. At ABT I saw it twice with Cornejo and was frankly surprised to see him cast this year as I thought he might have aged out of it. Until Sun I thought his performances in it were some of the most memorable ballet performances I had ever seen. He just inhabited that role. Maybe I dozed off Sun but I did not see him do the combination of steps that left me gasping earlier. I don't know what it/they were called, but it was a mostly airborne combination traveling on a diagonal from stage left rear to stage right front. Did anyone else either see or miss that? I guess not a big deal as they modify steps for dancers all the time, but I was disappointed. It was interesting to see people mention the lighting, as that may have been why both the corps and Gillian Murphy seemed off to me. At one point I used my binoculars to get a closer look at Murphy and was so shocked by what I saw I put the binoculars away.She looked sort of worn and I saw a mass of wrinkles around her neck and shoulders. I was happy to see Camargo as I had not previously seen him dance and think Cory Stearns is sort of wooden, but Camargo didn't do much for me, at least not in the way otber new dancers, like Furlan at NYCB, do. Maybe I will like him better in other roles.

I should have left at the intermission, but stayed. Did not like the Seasons -- not the music (which usually affects how I feel about a work), costumes, choreography, nada. I liked Chloe Misseldine in the beginning, winter, segment and Royal and Hurlin at the end (autumn). But that was about it.

About that ERROR MESSAGE --Please ignore it for now. All of your comments are coming through just fine. The blog hosting service has encountered a lot of problems with its migration to a new data center and I understand they decided to reverse the whole thing over the weekend. So I'm not really sure where things stand. However, they continue to issue alerts that the blogs will not be accessible intermittently as their engineering team attempts to jimmie and tinker. It seems that there are more problems with the blog service communicating with the Firefox browser than Safari, although neither seems to be working as it should be.

I don't use binoculars at the ballet any more. I'd rather sit in a cheaper seat way on the side and forward than a center seat in the back. So, I didn't see what you saw, but I certainly would have been shocked, too. Aging is cruel to everyone, including dancers.

I agree with you about Misseldine, Royal and Hurlin. All were excellent.

As always, I enjoy reading your through reviews Haglund. With regard to Murphy and the mention of her wrinkles, I wonder if the same observations and comments are made about older male dancers. It seems as though their dancing gets critiqued while the ballerinas' looks are what gets critiqued.

You have a good point, Elizabeth. I'm fairly sure that the unfortunate lighting probably was responsible for much of what has been objected to. Shadowy lighting can exaggerate things and make them appear more prominent than they are.

Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Bolle, Stiefel, and Hallberg all flew the coop before balletomanes started assessing their signs of aging. However, over at NYCB, male dancers have not been so lucky. Maybe that's because the repertory is more punishing than at ABT and aging starts earlier. Hair loss among the men at NYCB is a hot topic.

It may seem cruel, but balletomanes are nowhere nearly as cruel as the opera fans. In addition to hearing how a baritone over-enunciates his consonants, or the soprano drunkenly slurs her Italian vowels, you're likely to hear extremely colorful animal metaphors about their physical appearances. Not meaning to excuse it, but I doubt that balletomanes will ever descend into the coarseness of the operaphiles -- but who really knows.

Hi Haglund,
Love reading these reviews of all the ballets I'm missing this fall. I agree with Elizabeth's point that the older female dancers get criticized for their wrinkles while it's the dancing of the older males is in the foreground. I think the hair stories at NYCB are ludicrous. I am laughing out loud at your comments about the "critiques" of [some] operaphiles. SO true! They are brutal, crude, cruel and completely "incorrect" in every sense.

I was unaware of the "hair-steria" over at NYCB. So what if the Angle boys are losing their hair! What I do care about is tattoos, which should be declared verboten on ballet dancers. Their bodies are their instrument, and should not be scribbled upon. To name just two, I noticed awhile back that Cornejo had some sort of thing on his arm, but I didn't notice it in The Dream--perhaps it was a temporary tattoo? The eagle that Sascha Radetsky once had (still has?) on his arm used to be unsuccessfully covered up with makeup and/or a flesh-colored patch. Lovely dancers both of them but why do this to yourself?

"hair-steria" lol

At least the ballerinas don't seem to be favoring tatoo-tus -- yet.

Well people here may not have been picking on wrinkled male dancers, but I'll never forget when Alastair Macaulay, of the Times, picked on NYCB men for excess weight and something I think he called "over developed musculature." First, that time he suggested Jenifer Ringer had had too many sugarplums with her Thanksgiving dinner I believe he said the same thing about her partner, who I think was one of the Angle brothers. Not long after I recall him going after several male dancers -- including Millepied, Nilas Martins and maybe one or both of the Angles -- for being overweight and flabby. I know the Angles, at least Tyler, are favored partners for some NYCB women, but have to admit I rather agree with Macaulay on that over developed musculature thing. I just don't think it is pleasing to the eye. I was shocked when I saw Jared Angle on the program last month as I think it's been years since I saw him dance. I think he is well into his 40s now. He partnered Sara Mearns in "Vienna Waltzes," which didn't involve much in the way of lifting or elaborate combinations, mostly just waltzing.

H, I know Im late to the party here, but I saw my beloved 'Dream' on Wed night the 26th with my equally beloved Gillian. And I agree with a lot of the comments here. I thought the lighting was wonky (though at the time attributing it to my eyesight). I also thought the fairies were sluggish. In the first ensemble they should POSE! stopping on a dime. Like they almost stepped out in front of a crosstown bus! Rather than some who looked like "Oh, ok, gimme a second, Im getting there......" that night. I remember back in the early 2000's the ABT gals were beating the tutus off the Royal gals at this. Then Gillian and Daniel.... hmmm. They looked terrified. I just blame that on Daniel's last minute substitution. But bravo for them! I was also concerned about Cornejo since he's been doing 'this' for a while. But there he was still flying through the air and landing in fifth with hardly a wobble. And Hermia, Lysander, Ted and Alice. Yeah, yeah, yeah, cute. Whatever. But this time I found myself really watching and enjoying them! Especially Helena who was a-dor-able. And Roman Zhurbin, who at one point shoots a look at Hermia (or was it Helena??) like she was wedge of stinky cheese left too long on the kitchen counter. Love him.

Good to hear from you GS. I agree that those fairies rolled through their stop signs. I wondered if there was someone new coaching them because the infractions were so obvious - and caused immediate nose-wrinkling by us balletomanes.

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