Just a few quick impressions on sunday evening's gala event:
~2 words: Herman Cornejo!! Unbelievable in Diana and Acteon. He danced with Xiomara Reyes, and I felt that they complement each other quite well. She has a lovely on-stage personality and her fouettes (alternating single and double) were spot on. They also danced a very short pdd called something like "Spring Water". Is anyone familiar with the music and choreography? It was not on the program (actually, it seems that there were several last minute changes), they were supposed to dance the Corsaire pdd. It was a very pretty pdd, but a bit too fast and brief to absorb.
~The only modern dancers were Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell and Mathew Rushing from Alvin Ailey. I really enjoyed the excerpt they performed from "Revelation". The white dress for the woman is beautiful. Ms.Fisher-Harrell is a very fluid and musical dancer. I was less impressed with Rushing, who seemed to be holding back slightly. They were not always in sync, but when they were, the effect was powerful. This was my first time seeing Ailey's choreography, and it is a very different dance vocabulary compared to what I'm used to, but I liked it a lot.
~The Bolshoi sent Dmitri Godunov and Nina Kaptsova who danced La Slyphide pdd and Sleeping Beauty Act 3 grand pas. Kaptsova is very suited to Aurora, but a bit too playful as the sylph. I haven't heard a lot about her, I think she is still quite young? She is a talented dancer and exemplifies the traditional Bolshoi style. Godunov was brilliant in both pieces. His footwork in Sylphide and perfectly straight double tours in SB were magnificent (almost fell and put his hand down on one, but recovered like a prince, it did not take away anything from the performance). He was however lacking a certain level of expression, but that came out in his contemporary solo called "The Crane" to traditional Japanese music.
~The National Ballet of Cuba's Laura Hormingon and Oscar Torrado were impressive (she more than he) in Carmen and Don Q. Though they seemed to rush through the adage of Don Q, coming up to centre stage for their bow before the music had even ended!
~Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre danced the Act 2 pdd from Swan Lake, and the Lady of the Camelias. I prefered the later, in which the couple truly danced as one, and where she did not seem to be concentrating on the height of her legs, as it appeared in Swan Lake (with extension like hers you'd think you don't need to think about it!). Her hyper-extended legs create a very extreme line that seems awkward in some classical pieces, IMO. I know there has already been some discussion on this. She is a gifted dancer, but I wonder what she can do on her own. In the defile, all the dancers took the stage for a few seconds alone, but she and Cyril came out together. I don't think she would make a very strong solo dancer, but her and Cyril make a good team.
~There were also 3 Ukranian dancers and flamenco star, Antonio Marquez. He was simply amazing!
~POB was supposed to send 2 dancers, I'm not sure what happened there. Perhaps they opted out because of the WHO's travel advisory concerning SARS (it was lifted last week), which is understandable.
~All in all, a wonderful and well-rounded gala of a very high standard. (Although I thought last years was even better). I hope this will become an annual tradition here in Toronto
~Anyone in Montreal might be interested in the Gala des Etoiles which will be in September. The tickets are a steal! I don't think I can make it unfortunately, but for those who can, the cast is up on the website www.galadesetoiles.com
. It includes Carlos Acosta Farouk Ruzimatov, Igor Zelensky, Sarah Lamb, and Portugal's Daniela Severian (she was at last year's Stars of the 21st Century, and is a great performer).