David H. Koch Theater
New York, NY
July 19, 2014
by Leigh Witchel
copyright © 2014 by Leigh Witchel
The Bolshoi’s visit brought us a retro and largely cold buffet of Soviet dramballets by perhaps the company’s most powerfully divisive choreographer: Yuri Grigorovich. Russians revere him; the most polite way to put his critical reception in New York is that we don’t get him. For eyes developed here, it’s hard to see him as an inventive dancemaker or a skilled storyteller.
Yet the visit also brought David Hallberg for an opportunity to compare and contrast. As bizarrely wonderful as it would have been to experience Hallberg as Spartacus (heads might have exploded for at least a twenty-block radius) we saw him only in “Swan Lake,” and in his usual employ as a danseur noble and prince. In last-minute barely-announced Trockadero-fodder casting switcheroo Ekaterina Shipulina did not dance, Ekaterina Krysanova was his partner instead. It made one nostalgic for the bad old days before détente when the Russian companies didn’t even bother with a slip in the program.