Stella Abrera was gorgeous tonight. Every step was graceful and her characterization of Giselle was perfect. I can't believe it took so long for her to be cast. But I'm glad she had this night to shine.
The night began with McKenzie thanking ABT alumni and all that they have contributed to the company. It was short and sweet plus gathered big applause.
Thomas Forster was impressive looking Hilarion. He is a very tall and powerful looking dancer. His mime seemed a little too laid back. I didn't receive the message that he was crazy, out of his mind for Giselle. However his dancing in act two sets him up as a dancer to watch. He would make a fine partner for many of the taller ballerinas. If he acts/dances the character more in the future, that characterization can improve.
Shyklyarov is a beautiful dancer with very clean technique and beautiful balletic line. At first he seemed a bit too princely, a little callow in his acting. It made me nervous for the upcoming partnership but I worried prematurely because he was very well matched with Abrera. They had good rapport. His Albrecht immediately opened up near her and it was obvious that he was in love with Giselle. I also noticed that Abrera and Shklyarov have almost the same body line that complemented them well together. They moved as if they had been dancing years together not just two weeks.
The corps looked good in the peasant section. No one out of line or struggling. Courtney Lavine was a standout. Although I'm disappointed that she is relegated to the back of the corps due to her height. I was disappointed that the Peasant Pas de Deux was not danced by Sarah Lane. Instead we had Misty Copeland. I cringed a bit when I saw her name in the program. But she did well. There were none of those scene stealing foibles of hers on display (spotting to front) nor were her nervous tics evident (grimacing or biting her lip). Her movements were relaxed and not stiff. This was the first time I noticed that she displayed real charisma since it she wasn't forcing her manner nor extorting the audience for attention. However her hyperextension is very bad. Her legs look crooked and the length of her costume hemline accentuated her misshapen legs more. This problem can be corrected to a great degree. I wish someone would do an intervention for her. The only real problem I had with her dancing was that her toe shoes made a horrible racket. No one else, including the corps, had noisy shoes so Copeland's tap dancing sounds really stood out. Craig Salstein, her partner, was the stronger dancer in the pair. The audience was very appreciative of his large jumps.
Stella Abrera's mad scene was effective. She didn't turn the scene into melodrama. And since she made it clear from the start that Giselle was a sickly girl, her sudden death didn't seem corny. Shklyarov did go a little over the top in his reaction to her death. It seemed without Abrera by his side to temper him, he fell back on over emoting.
Act 2 really set this production tonight as the highlight of the season. The Corps looked great. All of the women were in unison, not a clicking toe shoe or noisy jump. Their hops in arabesque drew cheers from the audience.
I was amazed at the height and dancing skills of Veronica Part. She was a very intimidating Myrta. In fact I was in awe of her through the rest of the act. Christine Shevchenko really stood out as one of the lead Wilis.
The main pas de deux of act two really highlighted how wonderful Abrera and Shklyarov were as partners. They seemed of one mind stylistically and in temperament. They both let loose with their jumping skills. Shklyarov seemed to almost float in the air and stay airborne forever. Abrera skimmed the floor as if never touching it. The audience went wild with cheers between each solo, so there were many pauses before the show resumed.
Stella Abrera really showed NY, her colleagues and the alumni that she is Prima Ballerina material. I hope she gets more opportunities to dance Giselle in the future. I hope she gets more chances to dance with Shklyarov because they look good together as a couple and they create believable romantic tension. I would love to see them together in Romeo and Juliet. Hopefully one day it will happen!
Labels: art, ballet, culture, dance, reviews