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Amy Reusch

32 out 55 dancers new -- any comments?

38 posts in this topic

Of the 55 full-time dancers, 32 will be new -- a stunning statistic that indicates his determination to put a very different product onstage.
New dancers, goals at Boston Ballet

Without knowing anything about the company, I find this info startling, even if I do believe in an artistic director's right to choose his dancers. Surely some of you have something to say about this? Anyone have any comments on the different look of the new dancers?

''They're going to enhance the qualities I'm emphasizing onstage: more musicality; clean technique; simple, fresh presentation; and quality, quality, quality.''

Suppose he is making big changes in company class as well?

Just very curious as to what's happening in Boston,

~ Amy

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my only comment is that it's pretty startling, knowing the people he's replacing, to consider that rather than talk about what i think it is, which is simply a difference of aesthetic, he prefers to say that they are better dancers or more musical or whatever else. in other words that it comes across as a dig more than anything else.

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Good question :thumbsup: I'm going to move this to the Boston Ballet forum so that the Bostonians will be sure to see it -- but anyone is welcome to chime in, or course.

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I am not sure how Christine Temin got those numbers. My calculation has new dancers as a total of 23. 14 new company dancers (3 principal, 4 soloists, 7 corps) and 11 Boston Ballet II dancers. Seems she calculated former dancers being promoted as a new dancer. BBII (the apprentice group) always has a big change year to year. Some join the company, others are given a second year. This past year all but one BBII dancer got a job elsewhere if they were not hired at BB. 3 of the former BBII dancers joined the corps and 2 have been retained for another year. Incidentally, Michael Cusumano danced with Boston Ballet during Nutcracker some years ago while he was with ABT and on lay-off.

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I didn't count them, but when I read the article, I did have the reaction, "It didn't seem like that many when I read the press release."

It is not unusual for companies to have 40%, even 50% turnover. The smaller the company, of course, the more you notice it.

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Ms. Temin started another tempest in a T-Pot (Beantown transit riders will get the pun) last November when she badly mis-stated audience numbers at the Wang. See "Boston Ballet Box Office Woes" in Boston Ballet.

I suggest that anyone starting a thread based on her reporting first verify the facts.

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Well, we can't always verify the facts :thumbsup: But if anyone has them, they can post them.

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It is encouraging that he took so many from BBII. This allows him to use new blood while strengthening the apprentice program and hopefully the school to company relationship. Also these dancers should know the rep, so it helps with rehearsals, etc.

Sounds exciting to me, and as the commercial sector proves, the right move for a culture change to a new path.

Interesting too would be what the ex- BB dancers are doing. Did they retire, move on to other companies or go into the school/company as staff?

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Interesting too would be what the ex- BB dancers are doing.  Did they retire, move on to other companies or go into the school/company as staff?

I wrote to the press office two days ago and asked for that info, and have had no response. If they can't tell us, I'd like to open the floor for members to do so. The No Gossip rule is lifted in this instance :thumbsup: If you know where some of these dancers have landed, please let us know. By now, contracts should have been signed, so there should be no harm in this.

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Someone asked about a girl named Ginger; she's gone to Robert Denvers' company in Antwerp.

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Check the new roster at Houston Ballet. A handful of BB dancers are there and already rehearsing. :thumbsup: A change in AD at any company can be very unsettling. Atleast BB sounds as if it is moving in a direction now. It has been a company in a state of flux for a couple of years. Now it seems to be off and running with a solid performance schedule and a roster of dancers that must suit this particular AD. The new dancers hired for BB are a very talented group. A new dynamic can be positive and exciting. :clover:

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Alex Ritter is moving back to NY to become a jeweller.

They start work tomorrow....it will be interesting to see how the new dynamic evolves. There is a great influx of talent.....

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Socalgal--

Is the Houston Ballet roster on the Houston Ballet site, or where can I find it?

Or can someone list who from BB went there?

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HB is currently working on the dancers' section of their website; it is not up yet. I don't think there is a roster or press release of this year's dancers yet, or at least that's what I've been told.

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yes, HB's site lists it is still under construction. I am sure it will be up soon. I read it in a newspaper article about BB dancers going to HOuston, but cannot remember the source. sorry.

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Karla Kovatch is moving to Festival Ballet in Rhode Island.

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Kim Uphoff and Tiffany Hedman will return to BBII.

I read that article about Houston as well--I think it was in a Houston based paper.

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I just wanted to pop in and say thank you to everyone -- these posts have been models of responsible information sharing. :) You all are wonderful :) :)

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Simon Ball, Frances Perez-Ball and Ilya Kuznakuv (completely wrong spelling of this last name, sorry!) are all at Houston Ballet.

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All I can add is that Lorna Feijoo and Roman Rykine are dancers I'd walk a mile to see--

When Helgi Tomasson took over San Francisco Ballet, there was a huge turnover -- and the "new kids" he brought in had a completely different way of dancing from Michael Smuin’s -- it went from being a gesture-based aesthetic to a --how to put it -- musically-based aesthetic.... The phrasing was different, the new dancers had dance-flair. They could really do the mazurka step, they really cared about their action -- how, say, they finished their glissades, as a matter of dance style. Over the years he got them to enrich their phrasing potential -- Elizabeth Loscavio, who must have been born with it, her musicality was so spontaneous, like Ella Fitzgerald's, was in that crew, and she danced virtually every night, in the corps as a soloist, as the ballerina. Christopher Stowell also -- Tomasson wasn't afraid of hiring short dancers, and Martins had passed him over since there weren't enough short girls at City Ballet to put him with -- and WHAT a career Stowell had here. Like Loscavio, he started out as a bright, light dancer with feet that talked to you -- and danced all the time, in small and in large roles, and learned over the years to soften and deepen his phrasing, to land like a Russian, with more weight, and not be always about the arrival -- he became a remarkable artist here, with many many possible ways of phrasing a dance. I just use him as an instance, but it certainly HAS paid off for us in San Francisco for a director to select a kind of dancer he wants to work with, and then take them from there and develop them.

And of course, Tomasson hired Nissinen, who was a great asset to SFB….

This could be a very exciting period for Boston Ballet....

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I often wonder, though, if AD's don't give the current crop of dancers enough time, if any, to show that they too can respond artistically to the new director's vision. How does an AD know that any given dancer isn't really just dying to dance Balanchine, for instance, after years of more traditional classics? Is it only the rare dancer who can make such a transition? My gut tells me no, but I don't know enough to have an informed belief.

Or is it that AD's are afraid to give such dancers a chance, afraid they may have an allegiance to the former AD, so that cleaning house, so to speak, just seems like an easier alternative?

I don't know if these questions belong on this thread or if they should be moved, but the Boston changes may be a perfect example.

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To pose a question: Is it fairer to dancers to keep them employed and never use them, or to just fire them from the start? I seriously don't know.

Edited by carbro

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It's never good to hire someone for a job and then not ask that person to do the job. It's not good for the employer or employee.

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Oh dear, Carbro, so now that's another layer to the discussion. But that again begs the question I have: why won't AD's give the current dancers a chance? Certainly letting them go is kinder than not using them, but why not try them out? They have the experience, they're often at the peak of their abilities yet they're let go in favor of someone new.

I guess my question is: Is an experienced dancer so unmoldable? I'd love to hear from the professionals on this one.

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