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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Taming of the Shrew; Waitress Hat Trick

Katharina and Petruchio, photo @ Jack Devant

The Lincoln Center Festival chugged along with more Bolshoi Ballet -- this time they were dancing Jean-Christophe Maillot's Taming of the Shrew. After the excitement of Superjewels, this seemed anti-climactic. I went to see the opening night performance and while it was a perfectly pleasant way to spend a summer evening it's not something I'll rush to see again.

The ballet has some virtues. One, its brevity. With an intermission and the prolonged Russian-style curtain calls you were still out of the theater within 1 hr 45 minutes. Two, the score. The music is piecemeal Shostakovich which meant it was always listenable and often very fun. Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin (Bianca and Lucentio) have two calm, glamorous pas de deux that establish these two remarkable dancers as the foremost classicists of the company. The role of Hortensio is one of those Bolshoi bravura cameos that gets the entire crowd yelling, especially when danced with the explosiveness of Igor Tsvirko (seriously, wow! He has a pretty cool Youtube channel where you can see him dance other roles).

Bianca and Lucentio (Smirnova and Chudin), photo @ Jack Devant
But, but, but. Maillot ran into the same issues choreographers always run into while adapting Shakespeare: the Bard is all about the Words, and dance is all about the Moves. Unless you have a score at the caliber of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet or Mendelssohn's incidental music to Midsummer's Night Dream, pure-dance lends itself very poorly to Shakespeare. You might ask, what about Kiss Me Kate? And again, two words: Cole Porter. Plus, a musical allows for dialogue and lyrics that take you farther into Shakespeare's world than a pure-dance work. Many of the nuances of the play are gone in Maillot's work. One of the biggest is Bianca's manipulative, passive-aggressive personality that is so important in the play -- it's Shakespeare's way of reminding all men that your perfectly sweet, obedient, virtuous wife-to-be probably isn't any of those things. In Maillot's version she's just a glamorous Stepford wife. Smirnova does manage to insert a slightly smug, bitchy look that hints at Bianca's darker side. 

Kryasanova and Lanatrov, photo @ Jack Devant
Maillot also doesn't have the choreographic vocabulary to bring Katharina and Petruchio's love-hate relationship to life with any degree of subtlety. Instead the long pas de deux that culminates with the consummation of their marriage is just a sort of a PG-13-rated S&M-lite: think Fifty Shades of Grey without the shade. Taming of the Shrew has enough built-in tawdriness to tolerate the predictable Maillot style: as you might expect, Katharina is manhandled, dragged to the point where you fear for her shoulder sockets, pushed, pulled, lifted in about 50 different crotch-baring ways, etc. etc. etc. It's to the credit of Ekaterina Kryasanova (Katharina) and Vladislav Lanatrov (so gorgeous, but alas, given practically no dancing to do -- he does look nice shirtless though) that they do all these steps without ever seeming cheap and they're able to generate heat despite the overwrought choreography.

The choreography has some other affectations that irritate: for instance, the house lights go down and the housekeeper (a glamour girl with a chic bob, played by Yanina Parienko) sits in front of the curtain lazing around as the orchestra warms up in cacophony. After about 5 minutes of this nonsense the conductor finally walks to the podium. 

The company, photo @Mikhail Loginov
It's a testament to the strength of the Bolshoi dancers that this was even watchable. Tonight's performance just reaffirmed what I thought of them in Superjewels -- that they have the finest male dancers in the world. Their feet! Their faces! Their HAIR!!! They're not just pretty though -- they have enough horsepower to get the crowds screaming. As for the females, Taming of the Shrew is not a fair judge of their talents -- they don't have much substantial dancing to do, but as always with these Russian companies you admire the heart, the energy, the tirelessness. Today in the first act a fire alarm went off and beeped incessantly. We in the fourth ring were told to vacate, as were other sections of the house. It was chaos for about a good 10 minutes. During that time the dancers were onstage, completely oblivious, dancing with the same ease, and still remembered to close their feet for a tight fifth position.

This is a great company and I can't wait to see them again. Just not in Taming of the Shrew.

Sara Bareilles and Betsy Wolfe, from @Waitressmusical twitter
On July 22 I went to see Waitress again -- third time in three months. I rarely do musical hat-tricks but Waitress has become the musical for which I have the most personal affection. I went back mainly because there's been quite a cast reshuffling -- Betsy Wolfe replaced the amazing Sara Bareilles, Drew Gehling returned as Dr. Pomatter (I saw his replacement), Jeremy Morse (Ogie) and Joe Tippett (Earl) are reprising the roles they created when the show was at American Repertory Theatre.

The good news first: Drew Gehling was a much superior Dr. Pomatter than Chris Diamantopoulos. There was nothing wrong with Chris but Drew really captured the persona of the nerdy, slightly awkward doctor whose good manners and shyness appeal so much to Jenna. Caitlin Houlihan (Dawn) and Charity Angel Dawson (Becky) continue their excellent work, as did OBC members Eric Anderson (Cal) and Dakin Matthews (Joe). Jeremy Morse (Ogie) was not quite as outrageous as Christopher Fitzgerald but very funny and endearing as well. His pint-sized stature helped. Joe Tippett's Earl was different from Will Swenson's. Will was more overtly intimidating, whereas Joe was able to code switch between the charming layabout that he presents at the diner with the abusive drunk at home. I found Joe to be more believable -- he's that guy at the local dive bar who is always bitching about women.

The bad news: Betsy Wolfe has an amazing Broadway belter voice, but in many ways was miscast as Jenna. She lacked the down-to-earth sense of humor that Sara Bareilles had in spades, and approaches this role as she might approach any other ingenue character. Her two expressions were a bright showgirl smile and a sulky pout. Sara was great at conveying that Jenna's everyday reality is not happy, and she's accustomed to it, and so she takes everything with a matter-of-factness and sense of humor. Even Wolfe's poofy platinum blond wig was all wrong -- Jenna's not supposed to look like a Southern pageant queen. Also, although the voice is impressive the nasal sound was too much to take at times and grated on the ears.

But the musical just gets better every time you see it. Jenna is already a classic musical theater heroine, with just about everything. A rousing "I want" song ("What Baking Can Do"), a huge 11 o'clock number ("She Used to Be Mine"), and finally an empowering anthem ("Everything Changes"). So many women in the audience identified so much with Jenna they yelled things out during the show (woman next to me yelled "what an asshole!" after Earl took Jenna's hard-earned tips). I usually never do this sort of thing but when you walk out you can leave 'guest checks' and pin them to the lobby. This is mine:


Friday, July 21, 2017

Superjewels!


Original Jewels cast, photo @ Martha Swope
In 1967 George Balanchine decided to make a three-act plotless ballet. And then he hit upon marketing gold -- the three sections would be named after gemstones -- Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds. And voila! An indestructible cash cow was created. Jewels has in these 50 years filled the coffers of not just the NYCB but ballet companies across the world. It's a hit wherever it goes. Balletomanes love their jewelry and Diamonds are a ballet company's best friend.

Lincoln Center Festival decided to capitalize on Balanchine's foundation by creating a One Time Only (!!!) Event -- a Very Special Jewels in which each section was danced by a different company. Ticket prices were through the roof but the event sold out anyway. The Paris Opera Ballet took Emeralds, while the NYCB and the Bolshoi took turns swapping between Rubies and Diamonds. I attended the first two performances so I saw both combos -- NYCB Rubies/Bolshoi Diamonds and Bolshoi Rubies/NYCB Diamonds.

Seeing three different companies dance the three different sections of Jewels is sort of strange -- the ballet is supposed to be a display of company versatility. On the other hand, it is a One Time Only Event -- Superjewels. The audience absolutely loved it -- there were loud ovations after every ballet, audiences refusing to leave their seats until dancers came out for yet another solo bow. I have to remind myself sometimes that not everyone gets to see Jewels as often as those who live near NYC do and for those people it's a very special treat.

Reichlen (top), Smirnova/Chudin, Pujol/Ganio
The opening night performance combined some of the best Jewelry-related dancing I've ever seen with some of the worst. The weakest section was Emeralds. The Paris Opera Ballet dancers are as always tasteful and refined. Their corps uniformity is amazing, and all of them have beautiful feet with highly arched insteps. They are also incredibly boring dancers. Part of this is personal preference -- I dislike their overly stiff torsos, their extremely deliberate epaulement that is stuck in time -- the music moves, but their upper bodies don't. What bugs me the most is that they dance through the steps rather than respond to the music. They also airbrush everything to the point of deleting the choreography -- for instance, in the "walking" pas de deux the Myriam Ould-Braham and Mathias Heymann did not do the famous arabesques in which the legs and arms are raised in a staccato manner and held at different heights -- to see what I'm talking about watch this at 22:50. That's one of Emeralds' iconic moments. They just did a regular arabesque. I was shocked. Dramatically they were off too -- the walking pas de deux is supposed to be danced as a trance, but the two dancers were constantly looking at each other and smiling. The lead couple was veteran Laeticia Pujol and Mathieu Ganio. Pujol is retiring after these Emeralds performances. She's a fine dancer, but simply doesn't project anything. In the Violette Verdy solo she also did a lot of distracting head-bobbing. Ganio is one of the most elegant danseurs I've ever seen -- he's Paris's David Hallberg. I have fond memories of him in Giselle. But he couldn't inject much energy either. The "walking couple" of Ould-Braham and Heymann was different dancers, same story. The trio of Marc Moreau, Hannah O'Neill and Sae Eun Park -- again, same thing. Fine technically, but so so dull. Even their costumes lacked the sparkle of most Jewels costumes.

Reichlen in Rubies, photo @ Andrea Mohin
Rubies had the tried-and-true team of Megan Fairchild, Joaquin de Luz, and Teresa Reichlen. I've seen this trio many times. Reichlen is always a wonder as the Tall Girl -- no matter how many times I see her I never fail to be amazed at the control and strength she exhibits. I doubt I'll ever see anyone dance this better -- the nonchalant way in which she seems totally unaware about the men who are manipulating her limbs, those deep squatting pliés, the multiple unsupported arabesque pencheés including a final one held for what seems like an eternity, it's just perfection. With her endless legs and towering presence she is really an Amazon in a tutu. Fairchild and de Luz were their usual selves -- perky, more cute than edgy, but always technically excellent. Fairchild is a wonderful foil for Reichlen -- petite, bouncy, brisk allegro footwork, a cheerleader in a tutu. de Luz is one spry 41-year old: he finished his "jogging" variation with huge corkscrew jumps that exploded into the air like a cannon. The crowd went nuts for the home team, with screaming until Reichlen came out for a solo bow. In the final curtain call people even banged on the walls when the Rubies crew came out.

Smirnova and Chudin, photo @ Andrea Mohin
The Bolshoi's Diamonds was a great finisher. The Bolshoi corps is slower and more deliberate than I'm accustomed to with NYCB. It's not wrong, just different. But the soloists Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin were stunning. They too dance the ballet with a slightly foreign accent, but it's obvious they've studied and absorbed the Balanchine style. The respect they gave the choreography paid off. There was mercifully no "acting" (which I've seen from other foreign companies who dance Jewels), no exaggeration. It was just one long beautiful reverie. Smirnova has the soft Mariinsky arms and regal bearing, but it looks like she's also studied Suzanne Farrell. The way she holds her neck and chin is very Farrell-like. If I have one quibble it's that she doesn't go for the off-balance lunges the way a NYCB ballerina would -- she's more careful and studied. Chudin was elegance personified and his Scherzo solo with a long series of pirouettes a la seconde followed by a quadruple pirouette finishing in textbook fifth position got the loudest applause of all (how often does that happen?). Smirnova and Chudin have wonderful chemistry. Not of the sizzling, sexy kind. But they match each other in serenity. There is total trust and coordination between them. Their pas de deux was one of the most finest renditions I've ever seen. They alone were worth the ticket.

The curtain calls at the end of the night were lovely. Each company came out again (corps included), and the soloists all got flowers, and then solo bows in front of the curtain. Then the curtain rose again, corps came out for their bows, and Peter Martins, Aurelie Dupont and Makhar Vaziev also bowed to the crowd.

Jewels final curtain call. Thanks Andrea Becker for the picture!

The second night of Superjewels was very different from the first night. The performance was more homogeneous in quality -- unlike opening night there wasn't the case of some of the worst performances (POB's Emeralds) side by side with the Olympians (Teresa Reichlen, Olga Smirnova/Semyon Chudin). Everything averaged out.

Dorothée Gilbert, photo @ Julien Benhamou
First the good news: POB's second cast of Emeralds was much improved. Dorothée Gilbert was stronger technically than Laeticia Pujol -- her balances were longer-held, her torso more pliant, her dancing more energetic. She's also more charming, with a winning smile. A sore spot: she also does that annoying head-bobbing thing in the Verdy solo. Both her and Pujol bobbed their heads more than they moved their arms. Are they trying to imitate sea lions? Hugo Marchand was not as elegant as Mathieu Ganio but he made a fine partner. The walking duet was also much improved -- hurrah, the arabesques in staccato were back! Léonore Baulac and Germain Louvet also did a lot of glancing and smiling but at least one of the iconic steps was restored. The trio was pretty much the same -- Marc Moreau, Sae Eun Park and Valentine Colasante. I don't think the POB's style will ever be my favorite but this performance did restore faith in them. Sidenote: I watched the 2005 DVD of Jewels and wow what has happened to the POB? I know in recent years people have complained loudly of the deterioration of the French classic style but when you watch that video and then you see the company live, it really is noticeable. Are there no more dancers like Clairemarie Osta or Aurelie Dupont?

Bolshoi in Rubies, photo @ Damur Yusipov
Rubies was an awkward fit for the Bolshoi -- they obviously gave it their best shot, and there was nothing egregious about the performance, but it clearly is not their thing. First of all: THE MEN NEED JOGGING LESSONS. In that famous jogging lap around the stage the men rose to very high demi-pointe, stiffened their torsos, and sort of did this dainty hopping in one place with alternating legs. There was no sense that they were doing anything remotely resembling jogging. No forward push of the torso, no hiking of the elbows to propel the body, no distance covered. They need to watch some Usain Bolt videos before they ever do this again. The three soloists were technically without reproach but again, Not Their Thing. Ekaterina Kryasanova and Artem Ovcharenko in the pas de deux had no playfulness and flirtatiousness. Instead, Kryasanova swung her hips and legs but looked straight out at the audience with a huge showgirl grin. Ovcharenko is a beautiful dancer and that was the problem. He was way too pretty to be believable as a sporty all-American jock (which is how the original, Eddie Villella, played it). Yulia Grebenshchikova (Tall Girl) is also a lovely dancer -- beautiful legs and feet, great flexibility. But the Tall Girl is supposed to be Queen of Cool, and Yulia played her like the Sugarplum Fairy, all sweet smiles. She also didn't have the control to really sustain those unsupported arabesque penchées in her solo. As a whole the company just didn't get the jazziness, the sportiness, the off-center swing.

A reminder of how this ballet is supposed to look:


Mearns and Angle, photo @ Andrea Mohin
NYCB took Diamonds. I say this is a draw with the Bolshoi from the previous evening. Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle did not have the pristine elegance of Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin. Mearns in particular didn't have the soft flowing arms and classical line of Smirnova. But Mearns got the fast off-center arabesque lunges, the sudden changes in the center of gravity that are a hallmark of Balanchine style. Mearns is also a more inherently dramatic dancer than Smirnova. She projects emotion to the point of being overwrought. Tyler Angle was as always a wonderful partner and he did his best in the Scherzo solo but he really needs to point his feet more. In white tights his unpointed feet were so obvious. I do wish the NYCB would put forth an alternate cast for Diamonds in this run -- this ballet looks very different when, say, Teresa Reichlen dances it. The biggest difference between the Bolshoi and NYCB was the corps. The Bolshoi corps was stately and magisterial, sort of content to be the ballet blanc background of a Petipa ballet. The NYCB corps understands that Diamonds is a tribute to Petipa, and not actual Petipa. They had a speed and attack that made them seem like fairies darting in and out of this magical kingdom. The polonaise finale was deliberate and grand with Bolshoi. With NYCB it was a thrilling race to the finish with their trademark fast footwork and group acceleration until the whole stage is moving at the speed of light. Barbara Karinska's costumes with the soft flowing skirts add to this impression -- in the finale those skirts started flying up and down. With the Bolshoi you think "oh how lovely." With NYCB you think "Omg how exciting."

So this Superjewels actually lived up to its hype -- you learned things about every company's style. Their strengths, their weaknesses. Considering how many dancers of different companies I saw in the audiences I hope that they all learn from each other. Fifty years later, Jewels is the gift that keeps on giving. It challenges companies to absorb three very different styles in three different ballets. It gives great roles for principals, soloists, and the corps de ballet. And it makes arts organizations lots and lots of money. Thanks, Mr. B.

Here's a video I took of the opening night curtain calls:


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Veronika's Parting

Veronika receiving roses from the girls, photo @ Kent Becker


Part in three of her major roles: Mozartiana, Odette and Myrtha
This afternoon I attended an ABT performance that just a week ago didn't interest me at all. I have a real allergy to the way ABT does Balanchine and the program had one of his most sublime works -- Mozartiana. I wasn't in a hurry to see Gomes' AfterEffect, or the pas de deux from Ratmansky's Nutcracker. I did want to see Ratmansky's Souvenir d'un lieu cher but it was something I suspect will work better in a smaller theater.

So why, then, did I go? Actually, for a really unhappy reason: this was the last chance to see Veronika Part dance for ABT. She has been let go after 15 years with the company. When word got out that Part's contract would not be renewed, fans created an online petition that garnered over 500 signatures. Then things got a little crazy. A particularly vehement fan started hatching all sorts of plans which included booing BEFORE Mozartiana, staging a sit-in, throwing a tomato at Ratmansky (whom she compared to a Nazi collaborator), and other hare-brained schemes. In the end none of these plans came to fruition. The company's cold attitude towards Part was evident in this hastily planned "farewell" which was announced a few days ago. Contrast that with Diana Vishneva's lavish farewell in which she got promotional articles in the New York Times and the New Yorker, was surrounded by bouquets and confetti, feted by Kevin McKenzie and the rest of her ABT colleagues.

I wasn't an unconditional Veronika Part fan. She's what I call a specialist -- she was divine in a few roles but not that diverse of a dancer. Despite her 1940's screen-goddess looks, the remote, stoic mask she often wore during performances verged on affectation. She was too mature to fit in Ratmansky's version of The Nutcracker and struggled with the Lilac Fairy variation in Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty. I disliked her Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet -- way too overwrought. She looked like she was going to have an epileptic seizure. But at her best she was spellbinding.  I have fond memories of her in Swan LakeLa Bayadere, Myrtha in Giselle, the Fairy Godmother in Ashton's Cinderella, and she was just about the best thing in the otherwise tedious Golden Cockerel. She was also one of the few ABT ballerinas able to handle the controlled adagio of Ashton's Monotones. Her physical beauty always made her stand out onstage, and her powerful, expansive jump, trademarked "Russian" back and languorous way of dancing all cast a spell.

Part as Nikya, IMO her best role
Part in her early years at ABT suffered from inconsistency -- fast footwork or balances was never her strong suit. I remember a rather grim Sleeping Beauty where she struggled visibly during the Rose Adagio. Part was open about her frustration during that time period and considered leaving the company. But in 2009 things started to change. She danced with more confidence and control. There was one magical performance of La Bayadere where she was absolutely on fire. Nikya was always her best role -- her Shades scene was remarkable because she was able to exude both serenity and warmth. This was definitely an opium-induced haze that no one wanted to end. She was always beautiful and exotic and her back was flexible enough for the kind of slinky epaulement of Nikya, but that afternoon she also had complete security. There was no more wobbling, no falling out of a turn. The pirouettes in the Scarf pas de deux went off without a hitch.  She was taking risks just for fun. She ended the Shades scene coda by traveling backwards in arabesque and then going on pointe and holding one last triumphant balance. The audience erupted, and you could see the joy in her face and her body language.  Soon afterwards she was promoted to principal.

But even after the promotion she didn't dance as often as the other ABT principals (Gillian Murphy, Isabella Boyston, Hee Seo, and, in the past few years, Misty Copeland). When she did dance it was often during Wednesday matinees. Who knew why. Company politics? But I still didn't think the company would get rid of a dancer who could get through the full-length classics without much trouble and also had a fairly large fan base amongst ABT followers. But I don't make the decisions so ... The good news is that at least Sarah Lane finally got promoted to principal along with Devon Teuscher and Christine Shevchenko.

Whiteside and Copeland, photo @ Andrea Mohin
So how was the performance? AfterEffect, Nutcracker pas de deux, and Souvenir d'un lieu cher were rather weak appetizers. AfterEffect is Marcelo Gomes' first big choreographic effort and he made a couple rookie mistakes: 1) slapping on a theme (the three main characters are called The Man, His Loss, and His Hope and the liner notes said this ballet was "to those that have fallen, and those who prevail" ) that had little to do with what was happening onstage; 2) choosing a grand, ambitious piece of music (Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence) without really knowing what to do with it and thus winding up with steps that didn't connect with the music; and 3) wanting to include a huge corps de ballet but being unable to utilize all those bodies onstage coherently. James Whiteside as The Man, Misty Copeland as His Loss, and Zhiyao Zhang as His Hope also emoted nothing that would have suggested this heavy theme. The best part of the ballet was actually the last two movements with the corps -- Calvin Royal (newly promoted to soloist) and Skylar Brandt both stood out for at least adding more than generalized energy to the piece.

Ratmansky's Nutcracker pas de deux is one of my least favorite choreographic efforts -- after all these years I still can't stand the sudden crying spurt, the cutesy peeking out from the wings, and most of all, the repetitive lifts that after awhile lost all impact because as soon as Marcelo Gomes had swung Hee Seo in one huge twirling lift there was another one! And another one! The torch lift was awkward -- there was no attempt to jump into it -- Hee Seo stood upstage, Marcelo walked towards her, and hoisted her up by the leg and supported her on the back. Ratmansky's Souvenir d'un lieu cher was slight, but charming. Two couples (Devon Teuscher/David Hallberg, Cassandra Trenary/Tyler Maloney) love, argue, make up, break up, make up again all in about 14 minutes. The Hallberg/Teuscher pairing I guess was supposed to be the mature couple, the Trenary/Tyler pairing the youthful couple. The mature couple's relationship dissolves as the youthful couple become more smitten. Cassandra Trenary continues to be the best interpreter of Ratmansky -- her bubbly style found its perfect vessel in Ratmansky's very often childlike choreography.




Photo @ Kent G. Becker
The main event of the afternoon was of course Balanchine's sublime Mozartiana. Usually ABT and Balanchine are like oil and water -- the styles clash so much that I can't enjoy their Balanchine performances. But Maria Calegari did an amazing job staging Mozartiana -- no, ABT dancers do not dance it with the speed and crispness of NYCB, but the performance caught the essence of Mozartiana. When the curtain rose and Veronika Part was standing center stage, head lowered, with the student dancers besides her, one sensed a seriousness and concentration on Getting It Right that I don't always get when ABT does Balanchine. Part moved through the Preghiera with a magisterial grace that garnered applause. But one expected that of her. Arron Scott then danced the Gigue with minimal impact. However, Part and Blaine Hoven's Theme and Variations was gorgeous and delightful -- a little deliberate, but the sense of competition between The Woman and The Man, the way their variations both mirror and one-up each other, and their joint partnership as they dance together to the joyous finale, was all there. It was a delight to see them match pirouette to pirouette, to see them circling each other as if to say, "Wow, you can dance." When they finally held hands to dance together it was one of those Balanchine moments that hits you with unexpected emotion.

Hoven in Mozartiana, photo @Rosalie O'Connor
Then came the hastily organized farewell. Unlike the other farewells, this one was low-key. They skipped having each principal dancer and the retiring dancer's friends and family come onstage with bouquets. Perhaps the nicest moment was when the little girls each presented Veronika with a flower, and fans threw single roses onstage. Kevin McKenzie came out with some flowers, as did Alexei Ratmansky, Irina Kolpakova, Blaine Hoven, and finally Marcelo Gomes. Gomes is often said to be the rock of the company, and you could see that this afternoon -- he quietly pushed Veronika forward to let her bask in the audience's applause one last time.Throughout the proceedings Veronika was stoic. Her face didn't show much joy (how could she?) but she was a pro.

There was chatter that this wasn't a proper farewell for Veronika, that she deserved better. No arguments from me there. Veronika's dismissal was particularly graceless on the part of ABT. But Mozartiana in a way WAS a wonderful way to see her leave. Mozartiana was Balanchine's tribute not just to the Ballerina Goddess, but to Ballet. And so Veronika exited as a Queen, her head held as high as the heavens in the Preghiera, surrounded a kingdom of by adoring girls (the future), corps dancers (the heart), a jester (the laughter), and a consort (the love).

Here is a video I took of the curtain calls: