Hallberg to Undergo Foot Surgery


David Hallberg, Cinderella, June 12, 2014

Disappointing news from ABT as David Hallberg will withdraw from scheduled performances in Australia, Chicago, and ABT’s Fall season due to foot surgery. David on Twitter: “I must tell you all that I will undergo an operation on my left foot today which will leave me off the stage for a couple of months.” “Wish me a healthy & calm recovery and I’ll see you back on stage in a flash of a moment. I’ll be back more healthy and inspired than before.”

I wish David a rapid recovery, which he says will be “a couple of months.” I think a couple of months recovery from foot surgery seems ambitious, but hope for the best.

Here is the ABT press release:

Due to a recurring foot injury requiring surgery, American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer David Hallberg will withdraw from upcoming performances with the Company this Fall, it was announced today by Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director.

In addition to ABT’s Fall Season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, Hallberg was scheduled to perform on tour with the Company in Swan Lake at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane, Australia and in Fancy Free at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

“It is with great regret that I have to step off the stage for this period of recovery,” said David Hallberg. “But as an artist that relies on his body as his instrument, my main priority is to dance in full health and take the time needed to perform at that level again.”

Mixed Rep-Aug 17

New York City Ballet Tickets on Sale

Tickets for the New York City Ballet fall season at Lincoln Center from September 23-October 19 are now on sale. I look forward to the Stravinsky and Balanchine Hear the Music and All Balanchine Programs. The first features Apollo, Duo Concertant, and Agon while the second presents Donizetti Variations and Firebird.

Which seats are the best value at Koch Theater? Row R Orchestra side seats are the best. The seats are at the front of the rear Orchestra section and are raised above the main Orchestra seats. No worries about a basketball player sitting in front of you and the seats offer a nice sweeping view of the stage. At $59, these seats are great. As an added bonus, Artistic Director Peter Martins sometimes pops in to watch the action in row R on the left-hand side facing the stage. If the seats are good enough for Peter Martins, they’re good enough for me.

Pricing for some of the seats is strange. For example, seat O-11 in the Orchestra sells for $134 while the next seat to the side, O-13, goes for $59. Sitting one seat to the side saves $75.

Jacques d’Amboise Interview

Fox 5 News has a nice interview with former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Jacques d’Amboise on his great career and his National Dance Institute. The reporter, Aurthur Chi’en, was a former participant in NDI as a student. At the end of the interview, Jacques says that dance took a toll on his body, with artificial knees, broken toes, and pain in his arms that makes it difficult for him to lift his arms. Aurthur asks if he has any regrets. Jacques responds “NO!, NO! These are badges of honor. I kind of love it!”

Ballet News From London

The New York dance scene is quiet this August with not much going on until the National Ballet of Canada performs Alice in Wonderland at Lincoln Center in September. However, the London dance scene is active.

Mariinsky Swan Lake

Luke Jennings of the Observer thinks Mariinsky’s Oksana Skorik has a great future. From his review of Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House: “From her first entrance, you know that you’re watching a potentially very fine dancer indeed.” 

The previous evening, former Royal Ballet Corps member Xander Parish was outstanding, according to Jennings:

…Parish is nothing short of superb. He has come a long way in the four years since he departed the Royal Ballet for the Mariinsky, and Fateyev has turned him, as he promised to do, into a Russian danseur noble.

Mariinsky Mixed Bill 

Sarah Crompton of the Telegraph has great things to say about the Mariinsky’s mixed bill at the Royal Opera House: “A rarely seen Balanchine ballet is a revelation – as is a young dancer from Hull – in the Mariinsky’s double bill at the Royal Opera House.” The young dancer from Hull is Xander Parish.

Under Yuri Fateyev’s watchful eye, the boy from Hull is becoming quite a dancer. Here he landed on stage like a bedraggled colt, finding his feet, his limbs splaying out of control. As the work progressed, he found punchy power and huge elevation in the jumps, humour in the games with his muses, and a boyish charm that vanishes when he accepts his godlike status.

Osipova and Vasiliev Panned

Jeffrey Taylor of the Express doesen’t have anything nice to say about about Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Solo for Two. 

Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev are blessed with talents placing them among the world’s greatest of today’s dancers. But based on last week’s shudderingly embarrassing West End season, one virtue is absent from their considerable endowments – common sense.

As the couple failed to sense disaster before the curtain rose at all, my advice to them is sack your manager at once.


ABT Nutcracker at BAM


Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes, The Nutcracker, December 13, 2013. Unfortunately, neither is scheduled to perform in the 2014 ABT Nutcracker.

ABT announced casting for The Nutcracker December 12-21 at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Tickets go on sale for the 13 performances Monday, August 18. Notable is who is not dancing: Isabella Boylston, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Daniil Simkin. Casting for Clara consists of Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, Sarah Lane, Hee Seo while the Nutcracker will be played by Joseph Gorak, Alexandre Hammoudi, Cory Stearns, Eric Tamm, and David Whiteside. Stella and Misty will make their ABT debuts as Clara.

This will be ABT’s final season of The Nutcracker at BAM. Beginning December 2015, ABT will perform at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. Sorry to see The Nutcracker move west. As I wrote in March, when ABT announced the new Ratmansky Nutcracker in 2009, the plan was to increase the run to four weeks. ABT trumpeted the economic virtues of The Nutcracker as it is the financial foundation of many ballet companies. However, the 2013 run contained 12 performances over 8 days, similar to 2012, down from 18 performances over 13 days in 2011. Despite attractive ticket prices and positive reviews, ABT’s plan never materialized.

Since the ABT Nutcracker was a new product in New York relative to more established Nutcrackers, more advertising could have helped. I did not seen much print and TV ads for the ABT Nutcracker, unlike the New York City Ballet version. This is a shame because the ABT version is very good and reasonably priced.


Vail Dance Festival News

Here are two YouTube videos of Tiler Peck, the first a Don Quixote rehearsal at the Vail International Dance Festival; the second an interview with her husband Robert Fairchild. The first video is a unique and spectacular turn sequence in which she does single pirouettes in attitude devant (leg bent in front) progressing to doubles. Then she performs fouettés with quarter turns two times, finishing up with a series of single fouettés to a double pirouette. I saw Maria Kochetkova perform the quarter turn fouettés in the ABT Don Quixote last spring. New York City Ballet has several dancers that could do a great Kitri including Tiler, Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns, and Ana Sophia Scheller (although I don’t see any NYCB males capable of a stellar Basilio).

New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay has a review of the dance festival. The festival features an all-star cast including Isabella Boylston, Herman Cornejo, Lauren Cuthbertson, Robert Fairchild, Alessandra Ferri, Carla Körbes, Tiler Peck, and Fang-Yi Sheu. In Diana and Actéon,

Mr. Cornejo, a stylistic chameleon, tossed off high rapid spins and huge ardent jumps in a way that recalled Mikhail Baryshnikov; he also exuded a sexually glamorous upper-body swagger that strongly recalled Rudolf Nureyev.

Below are highlights. The last segment is Tiler and Herman in Rubies.

Mariinsky in the News

Veronika Part in Giselle
MagicDance46 posted videos of Veronika Part and Yevgeny Ivanchenko in the Mariinsky Giselle performance Friday at the Mariinsky Theatre. Below is Veronika in the classic mad scene (click Playlist at upper left). She looks great and wish we could see her in the role in the ABT New York Met season along with Swan Lake in prime time.

HT: Classic_Ballet at BalletAlert

Mariinsky in London
Luke Jennings of the Observer reviews the Mariinsky’s Romeo and Juliet. He calls Leonid Lavrovsky’s 1940 three-act version “creaky” and the “…staging of the mime have dated poorly especially when contrasted with Kenneth MacMillan’s much more naturalistic and character-driven 1965 production for the Royal Ballet.” However, the dancing made up for the production’s limitations. On Monday night Diana Vishneva “…was as an exquisitely feminine Juliet.” Her dancing is “…liquid and sensuous, a cascade of steps given ever-changing shape by her far-projected gaze and subtle épaulement.” Vladimir Shklyarov was a “blazing, boyish Romeo.” Viktoria Tereshkina, dancing opposite Xander Parish on Tuesday night “… is a grander and perhaps more tragic Juliet.” On Parish:

Four years ago, languishing in the Royal’s corps de ballet, Parish accepted an offer to join the Mariinsky, the first Briton ever to do so. Last week he returned to Covent Garden as one of the Russian company’s stars, delivering a performance that was as confident as it was elegantly shaped. An ardent Romeo, intoxicated by love, he partnered Tereshkina with an almost disbelieving tenderness. It was a fine homecoming.

The Telegraph’s Laura Thompson reviews the Mariinsky’s Swan Lake:

This particular Swan Lake has a great deal going for it. The ballet, which was first performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1895, is in the company’s soul. They currently dance the 1950 version by Konstantin Sergeyev, which – misguided happy ending, notwithstanding – is clean, pure and faithful to Petipa and Ivanov. The sets are elegant and restrained. The corps de ballet is magnificent, the troupe of swans gliding on their aquamarine lake like the very essence of ballet.

The Mariinsky will perform at the Royal Opera House until August 16. On the bill are Swan Lake, Apollo/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Firebird/Marguerite and Armand/Concerto DSCH, and Ratmansky’s Cinderella.

Mixed Rep-August 1

New York City Ballet Tickets
New York City Ballet single tickets go on sale Monday, August 11. The fall season at Koch Theater, Lincoln Center runs from September 23-October 19.

Mariinsky’s Romeo and Juliet
Here is a negative review from Neil Norman of the Express of the Mariinsky’s Romeo and Juliet. He doesen’t like Leonid Lavrosky’s 1940 Soviet era production or Romeo (Konstantin Zverev) “…he is a personality-free zone” but enjoyed “…the luminous presence of Anastasia Matvienko.”

Solo dances are a breath of fresh air when they are not suffocated by acres of crowds in this disappointing start to the Mariinksy Ballet tour

Romeo and Juliet is showing until August 16 at the Royal Opera House.

The Bolshoi at Saratoga
Lynn Hasselbarth of Metroland liked the Bolshoi’s Don Quixote in Saratoga, New York Tuesday.

Maria Alexandrova excelled at her portrayal of Kitri, with her famous split leaps and fouettés down a long diagonal, flanked by the waving capes of matadors. Vladislav Lantratov offered a charming and youthful Basilio, with his elegant tours en l’air and quick footwork.

Tonight is the Bolshoi’s final Saratoga performance.

Conductors and Dance
Marina Harss in The New York Times has an interesting article on conductors and dance.

The secret to being a good ballet conductor, then, seems to consist of a mixture of pure musicality and sensitivity to the needs of the dancers. As Mr. Sorokin (Pavel Sorokin, conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra) says, “You must understand how difficult it is, what they are doing.”

Boring PBS Lineup
Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal gives a historical perspective on PBS and argues that the current arts lineup is boring.

Last week, PBS announced its new Arts Fall Festival lineup. Paula Kerger, the network’s president and CEO, has been playing it ultrasafe ever since, in 2011, she launched the annual Fall Festival as PBS’s flagship arts-programming venture. I surveyed the first year’s shows and found them to be “a stiff dose of the usual safety-first pledge-week fare.” I hoped back then that things might improve over time, but the entries for 2014 are even blander and more predictable.