Farewell To My Favorite Ballerina

Last night was Alessandra Ferri‘s last night performing with ABT; she is now retired. Horribly sad night. I don’t even know what to say other than that I am very sad right now.

(Here she is with her two little girls).

But I have to say, the blow was lessened by Roberto Bolle, who played her Romeo. When I first heard she was bringing in someone from La Scala (Italy’s national ballet company) to dance the male lead in her final performance, I was so upset. Why wouldn’t she dance with an ABT dancer — why not Jose Carreno, who partnered her frequently? Actually, I was secretly hoping they’d bring back Julio Bocca (who was known as her long-time ABT partner and who retired last year), but no such luck. Why someone from outside, I thought? She said it was her gift to him (Bolle) — to let the world see him. Now I can see what she was talking about!

Seeing someone new, and with such promise(!!!), made you focus on a beginning, not an ending. And, oooooh, he was so amazing last night as Romeo; words cannot even describe! He was overall the best Romeo I’ve seen at ABT (excluding the aforementioned Jose, who I think all ABT fans know in their heart of hearts is going to be going soon) — he acted the part perfectly, he danced it spectacularly. And he is oh so gorgeous — such a beautiful beautiful man. He needs to come to ABT permanently! WE NEED HIM AT ABT!!!!! What is La Scala anyway? New York’s where it’s all at, right!! We so need a tall, dark and handsome romantic male lead. Of course there’s Marcelo, my love, but he is not enough. And, well, he is just different anyway. He’s like the down-to-earth college football-player boyfriend. Roberto is tall, dark, and foreign. (I mean, Marcelo’s from Brazil, but he just looks so American, and he’s been here since he was 13 so he basically is American). Anyway, we need Roberto!!! Oh please please please please please, Kevin, make him an offer he can’t resist! Puleeeease!

(I am really sorry my pictures are so crappy — I was sad and my hand was shaking and people were bumping me right and left, so they’re blurry as hell, but, still, I have GOT to get a new camera!)

Of course there were 10,000 curtain calls. Here are a few more pics:

(Picking up her bizillions of bouquets, the conductor behind her)

The dancers came out one by one (just like with Julio’s farewell), to hug her. Of course I had to get a shot of Marcelo in the action!


Here comes Paloma in the flowing red skirt. David is behind Alessandra, diagonally and to her left. He was the first one out.

Aw, Kevin McKenzie (ABT Director) hugging her.

It’s raining confetti!


It goes without saying, the house was PACKED.

They had these enormous, blown-up photographs of her, taken by her husband, photographer Fabrizio Ferri, lining the walls of the lobbies.

There wasn’t as much curtain-call insanity as when Julio retired last year: no taking out a beer, letting it explode all over the stage, pouring it on yourself, then letting the crowd watch you slowly enjoy your beer, then letting David and Marcelo hoist you high over their heads and carry you all over stage, then coming out in your underwear at the end… but then again Julio is Julio… :)

About the two previous pics, taken with my cell phone: in the second one down, the poster is of Angel Corella and I think Diana Vishneva posing for Romeo and Juliet, not Roberto and Alessandra — it was just the only thing I could think of to take a picture of on the spot during intermission so I could gush on and on about how in love with Roberto I was!!!

And top pic below, I tried to take a picture of the Fabrizio Ferri photographs in the lobby with my cell phone, but, as you can see, it didn’t come out so well! I was very excited because I was sitting in orchestra, and this couple came down to the front and was looking for a pair of free seats (like there were going to be any on this night of all nights). I heard the guy behind me say, “Are you looking for seats? Well, the seat next to me will be free but only for the second act. My friend, who’s from the New York Times has gone over to NYCB to watch Jewels for this act, but he’s coming back over here for the final act.” Oh wow, I thought, I wonder who it is. The woman looking for a seat sat down. Then, a couple of minutes later, I hear, “Oh, sorry, the seat’s not available after all. Alastair is back.” Apparently the Jewels idea didn’t work out. Of course I whiplashed my head around. He didn’t look very old! Not that The Times is going to hire as their new chief dance critic an 80-year-old to replace the retiring 80-year-old, but still — he looked REALLY young. Of course I didn’t sit there and stare, but … he looked so normal! I just expected a chief critic to look like … the conductor in my picture above, or Gorbachev or something, big and hefty and aged and distinguished ha ha! And, also, he looked American — he was wearing a Polo-type t-shirt… (Macaulay is a Londoner). Maybe that guy was just goofing with everyone, trying to impress by pretending to know Alastair Macaulay and it wasn’t him at all, haha!

Anyway, ugh, it was obviously an unforgettable night and I am really really going to miss her. I think I included in this post practically all of the pictures I took, but in case I didn’t, here’s the album on my photo page.

17 Comments

  1. Wow, such great photos! Thanks for sharing. She was a truly spectacular ballerina and it’s sad to see her go, but I loved your comment about having it be a new beginning with Roberto Bolle.

  2. i forgot my camera! so no pictures from me :(

    It was wonderful though!

    I cant believe Macaulay would do that (i mean I can, I just find it unbelievable!). To leave for an act during her final performance?? Granted she does almost nothing in act II but STILL!

    Did you hear anything about the last min substitutions?

  3. I was at Ferri’s amazing farewell gala last night as well. Looks like we were sitting on the same side of the house. I have been watching Alex dance since I was studying on scholarship at David Howard’s studio, Buying standing room tickets to see her in Don Q, Bayadere, Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, Merry Widow, Manon, Gaite Parisiene, etc. I learned so much from watching her and Julio dance-in performance and rehearsal. She is such a complete artist. Keyword: ARTIST. I was also there on Bolle’s ABT debut with her in Manon last week. The Act 1 solo was so smooth and stretched and beautiful. He had us in the palm of his hands after that! The partnering between Ferri and Bolle was risk taking and exciting.–much like Bocca and Ferri’s perfect connection but in a different way. And Alex, simply stunning. It was absorbing and a riveting performance in which she, once again, immersed herself into the character. Last night’s curtain call was amazing. Nearly 35 minutes long. An homage and thank you to this wonderful artist that is Alessandra Ferri. Thanks for posting those pictures.

  4. Bolle is not in his “beginning” stages, he is well established as a famous (and hot!) ballet dancer. I sorta resent the fact that just because he’s not in NYC, he’s not considered “famous” :)

    I actually love the fact he is staying in his native Italy…He performed a ballet/modern dance solo in the opening ceremonies in Torino a few years ago during the Winter Olympics….which I was lucky to catch as well. He is obviously very proud to be an Italian. It was fabulous seeing him perform “Manon” in person.

  5. Thanks, Art :)

    Jennifer, Alessandra’s the one who said in her interview with Gia that it was her gift to him — to introduce him to new audiences and vice versa — by inviting him to dance with her in her final performance. Unfortunately I don’t think there are really any famous ballet dancers in the world right now regardless of where they live and work but I didn’t mean to say you had to be in NY to be famous…
    Delirium — I forgot you were going to be there! Haha, well, I realized today that Ashley Bouder had her debut performance in Rubies last night, so I’m sure that’s why he wanted to skip over there for the second half. I saw Bouder today in it and she was just amazing. No, I didn’t hear about the last minute subs — I know Jared danced instead of Sascha, but I couldn’t remember what ballerina danced in Stella’s place.

  6. Melissa Thomas I believe.

    I have to say i got momentarily paranoid something horrible had happened to them (abrera and radetsky) being that they are married and both didn’t show, and clearly last min as there were not even any inserts. But fortunately that seems to not have been the case!

    Im so jealous you got to see NYCB today. I didnt get tix in time. Boo!

  7. Oh I totally forgot they were married. I didn’t hear anything about anything bad happening … I hope nothing did!

  8. Oh thanks, “Bolle Fever” — I just received your comment. I feel like I just heard about David Howard’s studio today at NYCB but I can’t remember exactly in what context… I know, wasn’t the curtain call amazing — the audience definitely did not want to let her go…

  9. I read Gia’s article…I thought it was utterly selfless of her to use this opportunity to introduce Bolle to American audiences. Bolle has won international dance competitions, just like some of the ABT principals…and is a proud Italian representative as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, which I think is ultra cool.

    I’m glad the New Yorkers have also had the chance to see him (as I did! Live, onstage, instead of on video and TV). What a treasure. What I meant to say is that I can’t imagine him staying away from New York due to “lack of opportunity”…Ferri’s invitation can’t be the only opportunity he’s had to dance in NEw York…for me, somehow, I saw him staying in Italy as his own choice. Perhaps I’m wrong though. This is all speculation of course.

  10. Well looking at the times I can now see how Macaulay could do it. While he reviewed Kyra’s final performance, he did not review Alessandra’s. You’d think a chief critic might not show his bias for one company over the other so quickly in his tenure, but hey, I’m not a critic, what do i know? (I’m not basing this statement merely on his treatment of the 2 farewells, but on that combined with the number of reviews he’s bestowed on each company)

  11. Oh no, I HOPE he writes a review of Ferri’s farewell — maybe it’s just not up yet? He seems to really like Balanchine, but then is kind of critical of NYCB’s treatment of him. I think he wants to like NYCB because of his love of Balanchine. He preferred ABT’s R&J to Martins’s R+J… We’ll have to keep checking the Times — I’m sure there will be some good wrap-up reviews when the season’s over — at least I hope.

  12. Oh its reviewed. But not by him.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and these great photos! I saw her and Bolle dance “Manon” and Bolle is a star in the making!

    I am going to miss Ferri like whoah but I am happy to see that she is deservedly going to be spending hard earned time with her beautiful family!

  14. Yes ABT's men are glorious but please
    can someone tell me who could come close to
    the most amazing dancer since Misha, JULIO BOCCA.

  15. Yes ABT's men are glorious but please
    can someone tell me who could come close to
    the most amazing dancer since Misha, JULIO BOCCA.

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