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Helene

Sleeping Beauty

27 posts in this topic

Well, I think it wouldn't have been too hard to use a dancer from the company. I'm sure there is some soloist, if not corps member who was learning that as a 4th or 5th cast. I do think that one of the appeals of having Barker dance is that she is a top dancer from a company on the other side of the country. I think guestings are great but a part of me always thinks, "Too bad a dancer from the home company didn't get a chance to show what they could do". Everything happens for a reason though and I'm sure it was a treat to see Barker and I'm sure that drew some people who might not have been coming to last minute grab tickets.

Thanks for the eyewitness comments on Patricia Barker's appearance with Boston Ballet -- living over here on the other side of the continent, I was curious to know how it went.

There are good arguments on both sides of the equation about guesting. The Ruby Keeler/42nd Street model ("...you're going to go out there a nobody and come back here a star") is a powerful one, and it can offer an unexpected chance to someone in the company that might otherwise have a long line to wait in for those kind of roles. We had something like that happen here earlier in the year, when an injury to another dancer put Lucien Postlewaite into Prodigal Son (he was an understudy, but not originally scheduled to perform), and he had an excellent debut in a wonderful role.

But it's also a thrill to see someone new, someone from a different place or style that can bring a piece of their home base with them. And as fewer and fewer companies are able to tour, guesting is one of the ways that we can see other artists.

(I had a brainwave the other day, when talking about the lack of touring, that while in the early part of the 20th c dance companies did the touring, now at the beginning of the 21st, it's the audience that's mobile -- according to some studies, arts tourism generates more revenue that people who travel to see sporting events.)

In the 1980's there was a brief attempt on the parts of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Houston Ballet to create a regular, three-way touring circuit, where each company would tour to the other two over the course of a couple years. It didn't get off the ground, money being the perennial problem that it is, but when I heard that Barker was guesting in Boston, I was kind of pleased with the echo of that original idea.

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bbfan's reference is part of a Boston Globe article you can find under Links for May 15:

The roster stays relatively stable next season. Pollyana Ribeiro, who joined the company in 1992, is the only principal leaving. It speaks to the Ballet's strength that the only new principals are promotions from within: Both Romi Beppu and Karine Seneca are stepping up from the soloist ranks.

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