Please let me add some thoughts about 2009. These are a few personal highlights.
Some of the ballerinas that I follow most closely seem to reach their summit when they are performing "Swan Lakes." Maybe this is to be expected. I haven't yet tried to analyze it. My list starts with Veronika Part (exceptional in anything!) and Gillian Murphy. For me there is always a contrast of wonder when these two ABT ladies perform their Odette-Odiles. Veronika Part just seems to become more multi-dimensionally 'mind-boggling' with each performance ! Gillian Murphy, when she hits her summits, is 'Heart and Soul' personified !
Another remarkable Odette-Odile this year was Viktoria Tereshkina (Mariinsky). Michele Wiles (ABT) did a beautiful final act of "Swan Lake" that sent my memories on a heartwarming journey back several years ago when I saw her for the first time in, yes, "Swan Lake".
Other highly memorable ballerinas were Maria Alexandrova in "Raymonda" last December 30 (almost 2009) with the Paris Opera Ballet. She just did everything right in this one ! Delphine Moussin (Paris Opera Ballet) delivered a wonderful Act II "Giselle" with an extremely convincing, naturally lovely and compelling portrayal. Also among the "Giselle"s was Irina Dvorovenko's (ABT) in Costa Mesa, California this autumn. Her Act II Giselle may have been the most beautifully mesmerizing that I have yet seen. Supporting her as Myrtha was an absolutely outstanding Veronika Part, as usual.
I loved Alina Somova's (Mariinsky) Balanchine performance (Mariinsky Festival Gala in March) where she once again showed that along with her multi-demensionality, she can also be one of the most aerially star-bound and spellbindingly graceful dancers that I have ever seen.
The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Santa Barbara this autumn was an outstandingly fine company that I had long wanted to see. Another much talked about company that I have not yet seen, but hope to finally see this spring, is Christopher Wheeldon's "Morphoses".
Ekaterina Krysanova (Bolshoi) happily reminded me what a wonderful talent she is with her Gamzatti from "La Bayadere" in Berkeley last spring. At the same series of "Bayadere"s Ekaterina Shipulina shone with her Nikiya and the consistently remarkable Svetlana Zakharova was excellent with hers. I still await the day when Svetlana Zakharova adds that one extra degree of inner light and creates a performance of such exceptional beauty that it will never be forgotten.
At the Miami City Ballet I could run off an unending list of talent. Haiyan Wu, highly regarded in her native China, added that extra dimension of dreamland transcendence to the company and won me over completely. Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg also continues to enchant me with her exceptional ability and her sublime presentations.
Among the men I have to single out Marcelo Gomes for his brilliant dancing and his extremely entertaining, yet artistically right-on, performances.
PS--My late New Year's Eve ballerina dvd video viewing was Svetlana Zakharova, Act II duet "Giselle", Alina Cojocaru, the same, Gillian Murphy, Svetlana Zakharova and Marina Rzhannikova, Act II duet "Swan Lake", Altynai Asylmuratova, Vision Scene "Sleeping Beauty" and Louise Nadeau, Divertissement "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
Can't do much better than that !