|Christine Shevchenko in ABT's Le Corsaire. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor|
For ABT, at least last week, Christine Shevchenko stepped it up to sub in four Corsaires, taking the place of both Gillian Murphy and Veronika Part as the lead, Medora. She danced admirably and flawlessly with Alban Lendorf in the performance I saw. Not to sell her short, but I still don't have a sense of her full gifts and her individual personality, but she comes across as the dancer in class or rehearsal who always knows the correct counts and steps. Becoming acquainted with these dancers, whom we grow to know and love, takes time, and also their being cast in ever more visible roles. Just as with Shevchenko.
Switching over to the baseball diamond, specifically the snake-bitten Mets, we have Michael Conforto in the Shevchenko mold. Since finally making it to the majors a couple years ago, laden with tremendous expectations, he pretty much underperformed, zigzagging between minor and major leagues stints, depending on the health of other older, better paid teammates. However, this year, he finally made himself invaluable, with one of the best batting averages on the team, and healthy (until a couple days ago, when his back bothered him enough to force him to rest). He rose to the reputation that preceded him.
Then there are the key performers who, when they go down, leave gaping holes. At ABT, we had David Hallberg gone for two years with a serious foot injury, after making such a splash in the news by joining the Bolshoi, in addition to being one of the most beloved ABT principals. His absence made space for newcomers such as Jeffrey Cirio and Alban Lendorf. And in terms of principals of his height, Corey Stearns and James Whiteside stepped it up.
|Matt Harvey, thinking about it. Photo courtesy New York Mets|
In his stead, Noah Syndergaard supplied the fireworks last year, plus filling the publicity vacuum, and now he's out for a lengthy rehab on a lat. Steven Matz provided some spotty strength before himself succumbing to still-undiagnosed elbow pain, but he's finally back in the rotation, as is Seth Lugo, after some time off after exerting himself in the World Baseball Classic. (Their continued durability remains to be seen.) Jacob DeGrom has persisted, if spottily, and Zack Wheeler returned to the lineup after undergoing TJS as well. Oh, and can't overlook the young, appropriately long locked, gum-chewer Robert Gsellman, who has basically proved his mettle. Bartolo Colon, where for art though? (Though he actually went on the DL in Atlanta recently.)
Then there's the huge absence of team captain David Wright, who has coped for seasons with numerous issues with his back and neck, and then shoulder, and was recently shut down again after starting to throw. Not long ago, he seemed such a sure, long term thing that the team didn't have any viable minor leaguers to fill in at third base. Now they're throwing guys there who aren't at ease, such as Jose Reyes, basically Wright's contemporary. And so it goes.
Personally speaking, I think ballet is one of the toughest things to do. Every part of the body is stretched and pushed to the limit, and when you're the lead in a 2-1/2 hour ballet, there's no respite. In baseball right now, pitchers basically unnaturally overtax their throwing arms and shoulders to the point of near-certain failure. How long this will continue may depend on how many talented young hurlers think it's worth the gamble, and huge salaries nearly guarantee that there's no end in sight.
When major injuries happen to fan favorites, we are devastated. But hopefully, talent will emerge, even if it takes time and enduring rough patches. Life goes on, but memories endure.
If you haven't watched any coverage of the America's Cup sailing regatta taking place in Bermuda, you're missing one of the most amazing spectacles ever. It's about strategy, of course, but it's the technology that is most impressive. The vessels—it's hard to even call them boats—foil, or fly, above the water. They're even marked by percentage in the air, with 100% not uncommon. We may still not have flying cars, but we have flying boats. The finals begin today, between the USA (Oracle) and New Zealand (Emirates), which is powered not by guys producing power by with their arms, but by "cyclors," guys on bikes. On top of flying boats. Enough said.