so i figured if i picked up ballerina daughter from rehearsal at 6:00 i would have plenty of time to bring her home, eat something, get changed and make it to lincoln center by 8:00. but of course rehearsal got out late, i got stuck behind that person that goes 25 mph in a 40 mph zone and hit every red light between bergenfield and home. once home, i changed quickly, scribbled on some eye liner, ran back out the door and hooray! made it to the theatre with enough time to read the program. after the routine julio bragado-young casting check (i already knew he would be in tempest but yay! – he was also in theme and variations) it was nearly time for curtain.
first up was balanchine’s masterpiece, theme and variations, which was spectacular. of course, it’s such a stunningly beautiful ballet, but i thought all the dancers did a wonderful job with it. polina semionova and cory stearns were gorgeous. polina absolutely sparkled, showed lovely musical timing and her quick turning sequences were fantastic. cory was equally brilliant, regal, elegant and with beautiful technique. (plus he has those gorgeous cheekbones, omg). the corps de ballet was incredible as well and the sparkling chandeliers combined with the new golden costumes looked just beautiful.
next up was “clear”, stanton welch’s wonderful ballet for seven men and one woman. “clear” was created for ABT after 911 and as you may already know, i freaking love this ballet. previously i had only seen the full ballet on vimeo, danced by the hong kong ballet, so finally getting to see it live and performed by the incredible men of american ballet theatre was really great! sascha radetsky gave a very powerful performance and paloma herrera’s cool and calming beauty suited this ballet nicely. thomas forster and daniel mantei were wonderful in their duet, tho i found thomas to be a bit more generous with his upper body movements than daniel, so at times they seemed slightly mismatched. at any rate, the entire cast was brilliant and it was such a pleasure to see ABT’s beautiful, talented men showcased in this awesome piece.
and so that brings us to ratmansky’s newly choreographed work, the tempest. well. after reading the reviews from the premiere, my expectations for this ballet sunk quite low but i still went in hoping i’d end up liking it. after all i am generally a fan of alexei ratmansky and hey, all my favorite ABT guys were in it.
the program notes state “the ballet is at once a fragmented narrative as well as a meditation on some of the themes of shakespeare’s play.” so i suppose that kind of a little bit maybe excuses the fact that the plot was so……well, fragmented. plot (or lack there-of) aside, here are a few things that didn’t quite work for me.
~ much of the choreography did not suit the music. i loved the music, i thought it was really beautiful, but often ratmansky crams too many steps in where they’re not needed and i find myself thinking, “c’mon alexei, you’re better than that. sometimes less is more”. also, at one point i found myself really yearning for some clean classical port de bras.
~ ariel’s (daniil simkin) costumes. (well, a few of the costumes, really, but daniil’s bugged me the most) daniil was wonderful in this but ugh! his costumes! i’m not really sure what island spirits are supposed to look like but surely they could have come up with a headpiece that didn’t look like ronald mcdonald stuck his finger in a light socket. and then later when he appears as a harpy, it’s almost a legitimately cool moment, until he opens his enormous red wings and all of a sudden you notice he has really huge distracting red boobs.
~ this weird blanket scene with caliban (my favorite guy, herman cornejo), stephano (craig salstein) and trinculo (julio bragado-young, once again not looking like a hottie, and yet i still love him ) that i think was supposed to be funny but mostly it was a bit w.t.f? however, once those guys ditched the blanket the rest of the scene was rather amusing.
~ the fact that once ariel was set free his yay-i’m-free choreography seemed an excuse to show off daniil’s arsenal of competition tricks. he rocked it, but i would have liked to see something a little more interesting.
BUT! it wasn’t all bad. sarah lane (miranda) and joseph gorak (ferdinand) were absolutely beautiful, their pas de deux were very sweet and pretty and i enjoyed them very much. (i would love to see both of these sublimely talented dancers get promoted!) marcelo gomes (prospero) danced marvelously as always and looked kinda sexy in his island jesus get-up. while in general i prefer herman cornejo a little less hairy, i actually enjoyed him as caliban. i was expecting this character to be a bit more nasty and vengeful but i found myself sympathetic toward him, relating him a bit to quasimodo. it would have been nice had he been given more dancing but the choreography he was given made more sense than some of the other characters.
okay, this post is already much longer than originally intended and i have to clean my house. overall, i had a great time last night and if i could go see the entire program again right this minute i would.