ABT Giselle Review, June 19

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Xiomara Reyes and Jared Matthews. Click for more photos.

Xiomara Reyes looks the part of Giselle, a young, frail, and delicate woman. However, Xiomara, probably not much over 5 feet tall, is a dynamo, as she easily performed the difficult steps required of Giselle Thursday evening such as arabesque panches, rapid pique turns, hops on pointe on a diagonal in Act I, furious hopping turns in arabesque and ronde de jambs en l’air in Act II. Although she is in her 40s, she still can play and looks the part of a shy, modest young woman infatuated with the charismatic Count Albrecht. Her bond with the Count was believable and touching as she grew from a shy young girl to a defiant woman, defending her love from the Wili onslaught in Act II.

Jared Matthews was Albrecht, his first New York performance in this role; he played the part in Minneapolis in March. Jared has improved substantially over the past several years and his casting in this lead role was well deserved. Unfortunately, Jared, from Houston, will move on with his girlfriend Yuriko Kajiya to Houston Ballet after the Met season. He played the nobleman role well and demonstrated a wide range of emotions. He was particularly effective as he grieved after the death of Giselle in Act I.

His Act II solo was technically proficient and featured a switching cabriole to the front, double assembles, finished off with a triple pirouette to a turn in second to a lunge. After his solo, he performed a brise diagonal to the Queen Wili, Myrta rather than a series of entrechat six. The brise step is more in keeping with the story line as he begs for his life. However, I love nicely done consecutive entrechat six like David Hallberg performs in the YouTube video two posts down and am willing to compromise the story line for seeing super athletic ballet feats.

Amy Wilson, a Principal Dancer at The Royal Danish Ballet, was Myrta. She was generally fine, but struggled somewhat at the beginning with several shaky arabesques and sometimes jerky movements.

Misty Copeland and Blaine Hoven performed the Peasant Pas de Deux. I liked Blaine’s double assembles and forceful turns to a double tour to the knee (Blaine is one of the few men that turn counter-clockwise. See my post on directional preference in ballet). Misty was solid, with nice turns and extensions.