12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Nice to have,
This review is from: American Ballet Theatre at the Met [DVD]  (DVD)
This is a tape made from an American Ballet performance at the Met in 1984. It includes 2 complete shorts ballets, "Les Sylphides" and Macmillan's "Triad", plus 2 excerpts from "Sylvia" and "Paquita". The principal dancers were ABT's superstars of the day (Baryshnikov, Gregory, Harvey, etc.), all in very good form. The dancing ranges from good to spectacular, but somehow I felt that it lacked the grace and brilliance we see in dancers from, say, the Kirov or the Bolshoi. Even Baryshnikov, formerly a Kirov dancer, lacks luster here, (to be fair, he dances the part of the poet in "Les Sylphides", which does not allow him many opportunities to shine.)
"Les Sylphides", in general, was rather disappointing to me. The corps-de-ballet started out beautifully, then it seemed like they couldn't carry the "burden" of an airy performance too long. The principal ladies danced well, but their approach seemed cold and "professional". They just could not stand comparison with, say, Ulanova, who is grace personified in a short excerpt I have.
The "Sylvia" pas-de-deux is more interesting (Martine Van Hamel and Partick Bissell are both excellent here,) though I am not a great fan of Balanchine's choreographies. This seemed a little like watered-down Petipa to me.
I love the MacMillan piece and the 3 young principals are all wonderful in a very demanding choreography.
The final segment is from "Paquita". The corps-de-ballet dances without much fire the mock-Spanish choreography. Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones are both impressive.
In short, this is a nice dvd to have if you are interested in ballet, but I wouldn't consider my collection incomplete if it did not include it.