The Tenant

The Tenant at the Joyce Theater with a post-show chat with the cast.

A complex dance play that’s dark, disturbing yet at a deep level, completely relatable. A stunning performance for those open to experiences.

Love Cassie Trenary‘s solo at the start of the show depicting the mental state of Simone. Love James Whiteside‘s and Cassie’s duets; James’ transformation; and the final dance where they mirror each other. I would go back just to see those dance scenes again!

However, the show has so much more. Love Kibrea Carmichael‘s movements and portrayal of her various characters. I generally try to focus on the dancers, but major kudos to Frank Moon for the live music, sounds, and voice.

At the post-show chat, we learnt about:

The significant amount of research that the dancers undertook to master their characters.

How the cast wind down at the end of the night, after being so emotionally invested in dark roles that involve suicide, deep anxiety, paranoia, and so on.

And the various coincidental events that happened during the creation of the piece. Are we really watching a story replaying in a loop? Or perhaps… just perhaps… are we all living the story ourselves?

Gemma Bond Dance

Congrats to Gemma Bond Dance for two amazing performances and their debut at the Joyce Theater.

I had a lovely time watching the many talented ABT dancers up close at the intimate Joyce Theater. Gemma created some of the most physically intensive choreography at this ballet festival. Of course, her dancers stepped right up to the challenge and delivered two evenings of beautiful ballet. Bravo!!!

(More notes to come)

Fire Island Dance Festival

Supporting Dancers Responding to AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at the Fire Island Dance Festival. Thanks also to Meg for organizing the trip on behalf of the Joyce Young Leaders Circle.

Saw ten performances including six world premiers and one US premier.

My favorites include Peridance Contemporary Dance Company who opened the show with a smooth flowing choreography “Dia-Mono-Logues” featuring eight dancers in nude color from head to toe, except for a piece of thin and dyed fabric over their shoulders and arms. The dance explored issues of identity, prejudice, and judgement as new immigrants. The colored fabrics complemented the movements to show the internal and external struggles within each dancer.

Al Blackstone and James Whiteside put on a romantic/comedic ballet “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” featuring themselves and five “extra” dancers. As James pursued Al, the object of his love, he must overcome the extras who stood in his way. Killing each one of them in dramatic fashion, James triumphantly captured Al. At the end, the lovers shared a cigarette, and stood handsomely as the sun slowly set behind them. (Literally, the festival took place with the sun setting behind the oceanfront stage, though James and Al’s fabulous acting sure made the sunset look grander than it even was!)

To close the show, Makers Dance Company, featuring numerous ABT dancers, delivered a powerful and physical ballet “Tatakai” inspired by Japanese samurai battles.

Upper right: Jeannette Delgado of Miami City Ballet, who had earlier performed the solo “My One and Only” from George Balanchine’s “Who Cares.”

#dancersrespondingtoaids #broadwaycares #equityfightsaids #fireisland #fireislandpines #fidance

CRA just posted a video of the Festival.

ABT Met Opera Season

Congrats to American Ballet Theatre for a wonderful Met Opera season.

You can still see many of your favorite ABT dancers on stage again on July 25-26. ABT’s very own Gemma Bond is presenting her works at the Joyce Theater Ballet Festival in collaboration with 16 incredible ABT dancers. Help support her project and the dancers!

Now, back to the closing night and my third visit this week with Tchaikovsky Spectacular.

I can’t decide which I like more: “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” or “Souvenir d’un lieu cher”.

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside were stunning in “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux”. The fast-paced duet is a treat filled with gorgeous aerials, and Isabella and James owned every one of them. ❤️❤️

Seeing “Souvenir d’un lieu cher” a second time allowed me to reinterpret this ballet, take in all its details, and appreciate the story even more. In a few short minutes, this ballet brings you inside the mind and soul of the lead character, her memories past, and her torn heart. It makes you feel nostalgia. It reminds you of first loves. It touches your raw emotions. The different cast tonight, newly promoted Devon Teuscher (congrats!), Cassandra Trenary, David Hallberg, and Tyler Maloney, beautifully danced the four roles. Bravos! 🤗🤗

Also, shoutouts to Jeffrey Cirio and Gabe Stone Shayer You were amazing in Mozartiana and Aurora’s Wedding!

More Tchaikovsky Spectacular

My second evening of Tchaikovsky Spectacular with American Ballet Theatre! Tonight’s program features eight principals and four soloists in excerpts from four ballets.

I was floored by Alexei Ratmansky’s “Souvenir d’un lieu cher” (Memory of a dear place). What a beautiful choreography. What an emotional story about the intertwined lives of two pairs of lovers. What a perfect cast to deliver the dance.

Stella Abrera is gorgeous in her turns and leaps, but was even more stunning playing her sentimental and slightly temperamental character whose past (Alban) crossed into her present (Marcelo). Likewise, Marcelo Gomes and Alban Lendorf are absolutely amazing technically, but delivered even more amazing theatre tonight. Sarah Lane was wonderful as the jovial and perhaps innocent girl opposite Stella.

The chemistry among the cast is incredible. My favorite moment is when Alban kissed Sarah. Stella reacted with a sense of shock, denial, sadness… before she dashed off stage. Marcelo stood by the wings of the theater… just watching Stella, loving her, but knowing there is nothing he could do. Wow!!! ❤️❤️❤️

My other favorite of the night is AfterEffect by ABT’s very own Marcelo Gomes. The piece starts with a rare ensemble of 13 male dancers. The scene is beautifully choreographed and generously showcases the men’s movements. I love the large formations, some numbering 24+ dancers. I also love how Marcelo uses the crowd to draw attention to the soloists. Highlights include Cassandra Trenary flying high from above to kiss Cory Stearns below amongst a sea of dancers. Congrats on the Met Opera House premier!!

Finally, love James Whiteside‘s explosiveness and Misty Copeland‘s musicality and playfulness in The Nutcracker’s Act II Pas de Deux.

Star Spotting at the Met Opera

Star spotting tonight at the Met Opera!

The final week of American Ballet Theatre season is the Tchaikovsky Spectacular. Tonight’s program features excerpts from four ballets… or put differently, a chance to see six principals and five soloists on stage in a single night (and that’s just the top billed artists).

Two of my favorite stars, Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside, duetted in a fun Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. As the tempo picked up, the aerials only got faster and higher, cultivating in Gillian leaping into two gorgeous fish dives and an overhead lift by James to end the piece. Bravos! Thank you for the treat!!! 🔥😍😘

Cassie Trenary was lovely as Princess Aurora in Aurora’s Wedding. Sadly, Herman Cornejo was injured and unable to perform as Prince Désiré.

Costuming for the wedding is absolutely stunning. Love Alexandra Basmagy‘s dress as the Queen (and her beautiful performance earlier in the night in Mozartiana alongside Catherine Hurlin). My favorite step of all times is the mazurka, and so naturally I adored ensemble of mazurka dancers.

We got a preview of the White Cat on instagram during intermission by Elina Miettinen, who came out as the purrrfect sassy kitten. Don’t mess with this one. Meow! 😻

Swan Lake: Misty Copeland

Second night of Swan Lake with American Ballet Theatre. We all fell in love and died with Misty Copeland and Herman Cornejo.

Absolutely love Misty especially her as the black swan. The sharp dramatic releases as she pushes away from Prince Siegfried. The gaze of her eyes, constantly scanning the room and hunting for her prey. Odile is pure evilness. Wow!

Tonight was ballet theatre at its finest. I could feel the entire theater falling in love with Misty and Herman by the Lakeside, and crying audibly as they drown themselves. I had tears in my eyes as the lovers re-unite in life after death.

And then, we were treated to more delicious dancing: Herman’s gorgeous leaps where he floats in the air forever, ever, and ever. Misty and Herman’s incredible coda in Act III. Lovely pas de trois by Skylar Brandt, Cassie Trenary, and Jeffrey Cirio. And James Whiteside, as the flamboyant von Rothbart, commanding the Great Hall.

Le Corsaire

My favorite ballet so far this season at American Ballet Theatre!

Such a dynamic, high-energy, non-stop show from beginning to end. So many incredible moments tonight.

Jeffrey Cirio as Lankendem draws applause from the audience two seconds into his solo for the most amazing and powerful split leap. Cassie Trenary, Catherine Hurlin, and Katherine Williams are absolutely gorgeous as the odalisques. Love the musicality, energy, and playfulness of Craig Salstein and Zhong-Jing Fang‘s duet as Birbanto and the Lead Pirate Woman.

Male dancers have so many fun leap-and-turn combos in this ballet. Love James Whiteside as Conrad and Joo Won Ahn as Ali. Both the theatrical and technical sides of Misty Copeland Misty Copeland shine through as Gulnare. She’s “dramatically” shy tonight unlike Queen of Shemakhan, but oh my look at those turns and lifts!!! Of course, the leading ballerina Hee Seo as Medora is so lovely too. No wonder a whole kingdom plus some more pirates all fall for her.