Durante had her Giselle premier in New York last Saturday. According to Anne Kisselgoff the NY Times dance critic she “triumphed!” According to Miss Kisselgoff Durante demonstrated her “amazing power of expressive technique” Moreover Durante’s performances was the “hottest ticket” in dance and the theatre was packed (very rare for the Met with its 4000 seats). She also pointed out that her Act 1 variation was packed with more footwork then the other Giselles and she was the only one who finished it on her knee as is traditional. She also comments on her fine allegro work, powerful jumps(!?) and high extensions.
The fact that she sold out the entire theatre is quite remarkable! Somehow I can’t quite see Bruce Sansom generating the same level of excitement if he was debuting with the ABT at the Met. (Sorry Jane I simply could not resist that jibe – I await your flame with dread and foreboding!).
I had tickets for the NYCB at the State Theatre next door and I was tempted to miss the first work (Ballet Imperial) to see the first Act of Giselle. But I left my binoculars in England. The standing room area at the Met is too far back to make it worthwhile without binoculars.
In the Sunday version of the NY Times there was a further article about Durante and her plans. She has an extensive program of lucrative guest engagement including Chile (Dance for Pinochet ?). This would suggest that it is unlikely that she will sign up full time with the ABT.
There was also a really good photo of Durante in the same articles which emphasis her dark exotic features. I wish I could blow it up and frame it. She is one of the few dancers who can look exotic, serious, intelligent or gentle and sweet depending on the role. Compare her Manon to her Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella and you see a very different person I think she is a very beautiful woman.
I think she will be back for the Summer season. She wants to perform and there is little other ballet around at that time of year. Lets hope she does!