My second Giselle of the week was Paloma Herrera's Wednesday matinee retirement performance. Herrera's portrayal of the character was very different but lovely to watch nonetheless. Her technique was on full display, and she was completely secure and effortless in her jumps, balances and turns. Her hops on pointe were on point indeed (haha!).
In the first act, she was more coquettish than shy. She reminded me a bit of a high school prom queen...but I guess Giselle is the Harvest Queen! The acting was slightly less naturalistic, but she communicated the narrative effectively. In the second act, she was more earthly than ethereal, flesh and blood than ghostly, but there were still many moments of great beauty. Herrera was partnered by Roberto Bolle. I found his portrayal of Albrecht more standard, but his partnering was lovely. He showcased all of Herrera's gifts, and the second act lifts were absolutely gorgeous. His entrechat were also insane...one audience member counted 38.
Myrtha was portrayed by Devon Teuscher, who is a lovely dancer but was not particularly Myrtha-ish. She was not regal, or cold, or intimidating, or anything really. Skylar Brandt was wonderful in the Peasant Pas de Deux, gracefully skillful. It was a nice reminder that this PDD is not just a chore to endure, like Copeland's Saturday performance was.
This performance was amazing, but there were to be more memorable moments after! After taking multiple curtain calls, Herrera tried to give her first bouquet to Bolle rather than the traditional single flower. After some back and forthing, she laid the flowers at Giselle's grave, which I thought was very symbolically touching. She then received flowers from members of the company present and past. It was quite cute when the corps filed in to each lay a single stem at her feet. There was a mountain of flowers at her feet by the end of it, and confetti showering down from above! It took about 40 minutes to get through all of it, but it was very emotional to see a great ballerina's farewell.
I really have gone ballet crazy this season. Stayed tuned for a report on the opening night of sleeping beauty! I promise I will return to my normally scheduled entries about doing ballet rather than seeing ballets soon.