|Osipova and Hallberg in very enthusiastic curtain calls, photo @ Andrea Mohin|
So did SuperGiselle live up to the hype? Well yes and no. Considering how thin ABT's roster currently is it was probably the best Giselle of the entire run and the audiences loved it. About 15 minutes of curtain calls with the audience singing "happy birthday" to both of them (they share a May 18 birthday). But compared to their previous performances it was below par.
|Osipova/Hallberg Giselle in London, photo @ Bill Cooper|
|Osipova's jump still a miracle, photo @ Andrea Mohin|
|Osipova and Hallberg in Act 2, photo @ Andrea Mohin|
The supporting cast reinforces the idea that ABT right now is not a world-class company. Christine Shevchenko grimly forced her way through Myrtha's steps without any freedom in her tense body. The Wilis traveling arabesques had quite a few girls whose legs dropped well before crossing the stage. Sklyar Brandt and Joseph Gorak were lovely in the peasant pas, with Skylar Brandt holding long balances and Gorak executing clean double tours in the air. But they've been dancing the peasant pas for ages. Can't the company give them something new?
|The Master at Work, photo @ Martha Swope|
First of all, it confirmed why his biggest classics are staples of the repertoire -- they make their effects every single time. Dances at a Gathering never fails to draw the audience in with its mystical spell, The Concert will always be fresh and funny, The Cage shocking and brutal. Some standout performances: Savannah Lowery in her last season with NYCB as the Queen in The Cage, Tiler Peck as Pink Girl, Lauren Lovette as Yellow Girl, and Joseph Gordon as Brick Boy in Dances at a Gathering, Andrew Veyette using his comic chops in The Concert. Some not-so-inspired moments: the shaky partnering between Chase Finlay and Sara Mearns in DAAG -- in the shoulder sit exit Finlay looked like he could topple over.
|Peck, de Luz, and Baryshnikov|
|Antique Epigraphs, photo @ Rachel Papo|
|Kowroski and Janzen, photo @ Paul Kolnik|
Another charmer: Fanfare, a fun, unstuffy ballet that was made for the stuffiest of occasions: Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953.. It requires a huge cast to "play" the different sections of the orchestra. There's the Majordomo Aaron Baker calling out the Woodwinds, Strings, Brass and Percussion. The cast I saw was a bit ragged and looked under-rehearsed but it was one of the funniest, most joyful ballets I've ever seen and Joseph Gordon, Troy Schumacher and Sean Suozzi totally stole the show as the "Percussion."
|Suzanne and Peter In G Major, photo @ Fred Fehl|
Another "wow why isn't this played more often" ballet was Opus 19/The Dreamer. Prokofiev's violin concerto sounds like difficult music to choreograph but Robbins creates a surreal atmosphere where a single man (Taylor Stanley, making an excellent debut) tries to follow an elusive muse (the ever-lovely Sterling Hyltin, whose fast skimming bourrées and natural warmth made her seem like the woman of every man's dreams). In fact, I mused aloud that I would love to see Hyltin dance Giselle. There's some highly stylized arm and hand gestures in Opus 19 that recall Balanchine's pas in Symphony in Three Movements. As I said, deserves more airtime.
|de Luz and Peck, photo @ Paul Kolnik|
|Topham and Hollander, photo @ Sara Krulwich|
Now, for something a little different. I will be taking a hiatus from blogging. Hopefully not permanent but probably so. Don't really want to get into the reasons. But overall I think it will be a good thing. I admit that I've been getting a swelled head as I've occasionally been recognized at performances and my readership has gone up. But at the end of the day I'm just a fan. This blog started out as something fun and therapeutic but over time I've realized how unqualified I am. I have no background training in music or dance or acting. This is all based on love of the art form, but there are professional critics way more qualified to give an opinion. I take a look at most blogs and there's an element of conceit in most of them, and conceit is never a good look. I do not want to become just another conceited unqualified blogger. So as Bugs Bunny would say, "That's all, folks!"