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Promotions 5/4/05: Korbes & la Cour

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What has Ask la Cour done to deserve promotion?

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Congratulations to both dancers. While I'm not familiar with Ask LaCour, I was very, very impressed with the beautiful Ms Korbes during the recent NYCB performances at the Kennedy Center.

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Farrell Fan, Ask la Cour was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. I wonder if Martins particularly likes him because of his training at the Royal Danish Ballet School?

Not to take anything away from him, congratulations, maybe he could do Apollo.

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Let me add my congratulations, I've enjoyed watching both of them the past couple of seasons. I think la Cour posseses great elegance, and has really shown a strong presence on stage. I look forward to seeing more of both of them

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A champagne toast to these two dancers! Wonderful news for Korbes fans...of which this household has two!

I would imagine that Ask LaCour's main value to the Company is: he's tall. And a good partner. With Kowroski, Sylve, Reichlin and Korbes among the brightest luminaries, tall men are needed. Charles Askegard & Philip Neal won't dance forever, and the wave of the future is coming in. Steve Hanna is there, but he seems most comfortable with slightly shorter women. Besides, he cannot do everything. I'm not sure how LaCour would fare in showy roles - lots of turns and jumps - but I doubt he'll be called on for much of that. I'll be glad to see him with Reichlin and I hope that partnership gets cooking soon.

When LaCour first joined the Company, I thought he looked kind of sluggish and aside from being tall I could not imagine what he could bring to the stage. But his presence has really grown on me, notably in SHAMBARDS, the Elegie of TCHAIK #3 and BARBER VIOLIN CONCERTO where I thought he really made an impact. And last night, in Benj. Millepied's DOUBLE ARIA he showed he could take excellent care of Maria K.

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Martins has been pushing LaCour since he arrived, and he is talented so for me the promotion is not without reason, but there is also a familial connection. LaCour is the son of Lise LaCour, Peter Martins' first wife and the mother of Nilas Martins. LaCour is not a blood relation to Peter Martins, but he is Nilas Martins' half brother.

As for Korbes . . . <runs around office skipping and clicking heels>

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La Cour has danced far fewer solo roles than most NYCB dancers who are promoted to soloist, so to that extent it's a surprise. But I was very impressed by his debut as Phlegmatic in 4Ts in Washington, so he has potential beyond his height.

As for Korbes, well, that's almost as big a surprise, given the fact that she's been languishing in the corps for so long. Here's hoping that from now on we'll see her in the leading roles she deserves.

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Okay, now that first comments are in: while I was surprised by how quickly Ask got new roles (well, actually, I would have been surprised if there hadn't been some familial ties), I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have liked him. Shambards (while not my favorite Wheeldon balledt) made good use of him. And I thought he partnered Kowroski very well last night. I have even liked him in the corps of Union Jack, where he is by far the regiment member with the highest knees during the quickstep section.

I also got to see tapes of him from the Royal Danish. It seems that he got to do Lensky in Cranko's Onegin during his first year in the corps. (Yes, there might have been some nepotism to his getting the role, since his mother was a ballet mistress there, but his dancing was VERY good in the tape I saw.) He also toured last year with a mini-group from NYCB, led by Benjamin Millepied and including Saskia Beskew, Ellen Bar, and Amanda Hankes. [sidenote: Ask stated during a recent NYCB Insight session that he got to do Apollo during that tour's stop in Stockholm.]

As for Korbes: obviously, she deserved the promotion - and ABOUT TIME, too.

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I liked LaCour's Sanguinic in Washington, too, and teachers and former dancers I'm in touch with in Copenhagen said, at the time that he left, that he was a loss, and one of the boys they had felt was the most promising.

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Well, not to beat a dead horse, but I'd rather wathc LaCour that Nilas Martins any day, so his promotion doesn't upset me too much. I think he is talented and almost visibly turned himself into an NYCB dancer over his first season or two - before he stuck out stylistically, now he sticks out because of his height and verve. Maybe its early but not, to me, undeserved.

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Official word:

CARLA KÖRBES AND ASK la COUR PROMOTED TO SOLOIST AT NEW YORK CITY BALLET

New York City Ballet announced today that corps de ballet members Carla Körbes and Ask la Cour have been promoted to soloist. Both promotions are effective immediately.

Carla Körbes was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and began her ballet training at age five with local teachers. From age 11 she studied at Ballet Vera Bublitz with Giane Teixeira and Carlla Bublitz. In 1996 Ms. Körbes continued her studies at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, where she was the Mae L. Wien Award recipient for 1999. Ms. Körbes became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in October 1999 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in June 2000. She was NYCB’s Janice Levin Dancer Honoree for 2001-2002 season.

Ask la Cour was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and began his dance training at the age of nine at the Royal Danish Ballet School, where he studied with Niels Balle, Adam Lüders, and Colleen Neary. He joined the Royal Danish Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2000. Mr. la Cour joined New York City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in the fall of 2002. Mr. la Cour has received several awards, including the 1998 Royal Theatre Award, the 2001 Edith Allers Memorial Award, the 2001 Birger Bartholins Memorial Award, and the 2001 John Roagers Memorial Award.

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The issue with La Cour's promotion does not really concern La Cour's worthiness as such. He is extremely promising, in his appearance, size and his temperament he represents a noble type of dancer currently rare in the company, and he appears to have the chops to be a soloist. This last point may be a little ticklish right now, though, because as cast so far we've not really seen him dance many Balanchine or Russo-Petipa type variations. So we'll have to see on that point. (Note that the company even has some principal boys who can partner but who can't really dance a gut wrenching Don Q type variation cleanly).

The issue that I do sense concerns not him alone, but the failure to promote some of his other worthy contemporaries. There are at least four to six boys in the company who have emerged in the last year whose claims for promotion, based upon talent and chops and type, were as strong as La Cour's. I would mention Sean Suozzi and Seth Orza as two, and indeed both of them appear technically superior, as far as variation dancing is concerned right now and that is one of the things I think you would look for in a "soloist".

The message you thus send when you promote Ask but no one else, is that they lack an essential virtue. Being born in Copenhagen and having Nilas for a brother.

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The message you thus send when you promote Ask but no one else, is that they lack an essential virtue.  Being born in Copenhagen and having Nilas for a brother.

Well maybe not even having the brother. But the sort of statistical plurality

of Danes reminds me a bit of the glut of Russians at the Met Opera.

Are some of these performers talented? Of course! But there seems like some kind of connection, in NYCB case, Danes to Martins, at the Met Opera , Russians to Gergiev.

Richard

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This trend is not new Richard. As I'm sure you know, Peter Martins was among a long line of Danes Balanchine himself brought into the company. He obviously felt they had something that either added to the mix or adapted well to his style.

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