Saturday, October 27, 2012

The best and worst of ABT at City Center (October 2012)

So I was absolutely intending to blog about all seven performances of ABT at City Center last week, but I've worked 80+ hours this week and haven't yet had the time to organize all the many thoughts into prose.  So, I thought I'd share some "awards" (most of which were run by and agreed to by my friend and comrade-in-madness for my ballet marathon week).  So here goes (after the jump):

First, the good news:

Most commitment and sheer sparkle:  Polina Semionova (Ratmansky's Symphony #9 / The Leaves are Fading), Cory Stearns and Veronika Part (The Moor's Pavane)

Most sassy performances:  Craig Salstein (Symphony #9 / Rodeo), Luciana Paris (In the Upper Room)

Most Oscar-worthy acting:  Marian Butler (Rodeo), Roman Zhurbin (Rodeo / The Moor's Pavane), Cory Stearns (The Moor's Pavane)

Most evidently having a blast on stage:  Jared Matthews (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes / Rodeo / Symphony #9 / In The Upper Room), Sascha Radetsky (In The Upper Room), Sarah Lane (In The Upper Room)

Most attention-commanding performances:  Joey Gorak (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), Skylar Brandt and Nicole Graniero (In the Upper Room), Cory Stearns (The Moor's Pavane), Herman Cornejo (Symphony #9)

Best musicality:  Jared Matthews (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), Yuriko Kajiya (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), Roman Zhurbin (The Moor's Pavane), Kristi Boone (The Leaves are Fading), Joey Gorak (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), Marion Butler (Rodeo), Marcelo Gomes (The Leaves are Fading), Skylar Brandt and Nicole Graniero (In the Upper Room)

Most standout corps performances:  Adrienne Schulte (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes / Symphony #9 / The Leaves are Fading), Skylar Brandt (Symphony #9 / Rodeo / In The Upper Room), Arron Scott (In The Upper Room / Rodeo / Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes)

Most visibly matured since last season: Calvin Royal

Finally showing principal level chops: Cory Stearns (The Moor's Pavane / In The Upper Room)

Most imaginable to dance a role in the future:  Gray Davis (Conrad), Joey Gorak (Basilio)

Best lifts:  Marcelo Gomes and Julie Kent (The Leaves are Fading), Marcelo Gomes and Polina Semionova (Symphony #9), Eric Tamm and Nicole Graniero (In The Upper Room), Gray Davis, Thomas Forster, Roddy Doble and Calvin Royal (lifting Herman Cornejo in Symphony #9)

Best partnering of Veronika Part I've ever seen: Roberto Bolle (Symphony #9)

Best legit tap dancing: Craig Salstein (Rodeo)

Most insanely attention-grabbing abs (had to be said): Sascha Radetsky, runner up: Roddy Doble (both In The Upper Room)

Least believable as having no game:  Sascha Radetsky (Rodeo)

Best comeback after a fiasco: Alexei Ratmansky (Symphony #9, following up Firebird)

Most welcome additions to ABT fall season:  Roberto Bolle and Polina Semionova

Most deserving of having been in the first cast rather than the second:  Marian Butler (Rodeo), Yuriko Kajiya (Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes), Sarah Lane (In The Upper Room) *Sarah was so great with Herman Cornejo last year, she was really the only thing glaringly missing from making the first performance of In The Upper Room the best I'd ever seen. 

Absolute best Upper Room "Bomb Squad" EVER:
  Nicole Graniero and Skylar Brandt

And the not so good news:

Most underused at City Center:  Christine Shevchenko, Courtney Lavine

Most cast below skill level:  Stella Abrera

Most missed:  Misty Copeland

Most competently lovely yet instantly forgettable: Hee Seo (The Leaves are Fading / Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), Stephanie Williams (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes)

Partners deserving of hazard pay:  Sarah Lane (partnered by Daniil Simkin in The Leaves are Fading / Stars and Stripes / In the Upper Room), Roberto Bolle (partnering Hee Seo in The Leaves are Fading), and Herman Cornejo (partnering Isabella Boylston in In The Upper Room)

Most needing more oomph:  Thomas Forster (The Moor's Pavane / Symphony #9), Hee Seo (The Leaves are Fading / Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), Isabella Boylston (In The Upper Room)

Most desperately needing of being locked in a room with Marcelo Gomes and Roberto Bolle for an intervention on how to partner a ballerina:  Daniil Simkin

Least musical:  Isabella Boylston (first performance of Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes (second was much better), In The Upper Room) (*positive mention to Melanie Hamrick for not coming close to winning this one for the first time in a couple of years!)

Most perplexing use of swan arms in contemporary choreography:  Isabella Boylston (In The Upper Room), James Whiteside (Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes / In The Upper Room)

Most violations for unnecessarily changing choreography: Daniil Simkin (Stars and Stripes)

Casting that should have been: Yuriko Kajiya and either Joey Gorak or Jared Matthews in Stars and Stripes

Other thoughts? Standouts that I missed?  Let me know in the comments below.

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