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Veronika Part: divided opinions?

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London's Ballet Magazine is reporting Veronika Part will leave ABT at the end of the Met season. The link is here.

Interesting article but rather thin on listing all the ballet opportunities Part has had with ABT. From ABT's website:

"Her roles with the Company include Terpsichore in Apollo, a Shade in La Bayadère, Twig in Cinderella, Prayer in Coppélia, Mercedes and the Queen of the Driads in Don Quixote, Myrta in Giselle, leading roles in Ballet Imperial and Mozartiana, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, the Chief Nursemaid in Petrouchka, the Polovtsian Princess in the Polovtsian Dances, Raymonda, Henrietta, the White Lady and the Lead Spanish Dancer in Raymonda, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Odette-Odile, the Polish Princess and a Big Swan in Swan Lake, a leading role in Les Sylphides and Symphonie Concertane, Terpsichore in Sylvia and the second movement in Symphony in C. She created a leading role in Kaleidoscope and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison. "

While I certainly understand Part's frustration with the politics at ABT.... she is very much loved by Director, Kevin McKenzie, and has been given many more opportunities than this article at Ballet.co suggests. Problem is, that there are many other principals (avec imports) and soloists who are stronger.

I think ABT's recent choices of rep at City Center and at the Met have also been a problem.... Part's not a Ballo type.... and the company hasn't done Mozartiana or Sym in C for some time - roles in which Part excelled. I think the audience and ABT's dancers would benefit from a better variety.

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......Another choice would be the Mariinsky. Perhaps their next A.D. might wish to return to the Mariinsky style: what more perfect choice?

Drb, I'm afraid that she would have the same problem as before because of her naturally plush physique. Look at what's happened to the other 'plush' ballerinas of Part's generation (mid-1990s graduates) at the Mariinsky, Tatyana Amosova and Tatyana Serova. It's not just Makhar Vaziyev; it's the mindset of the teachers and coaches. Secondly, the main apologist for Part's talents -- her teacher, then coach, Inna Zubkovskaya -- passed away shortly before Part left Russia. Zubkovskaya was also the 'protector-coach' of Serova. Amosova had Udalenkova as teacher but, I think, Zubkovskaya as coach in the theater.

If you don't have the prescribed physique (attenuated - hyper-slim), then you at least must have a political heavy-hitter on your side. Zubkovskaya was that heavy hitter for Part.

I can't speak for the ABT years in Part's life except that she was not cast in leading roles all that often and, when she was, not all were succesful -- most notably last year's Aurora experience. The above-cited interview reveals more about the ABT years than any of us could state.

That said -- I LOVE Part's Lilac, Odette, Symphony Concertant, Leaves Are Fading, Sugarplum, etc., etc. She will be missed. I hope that she will find a company where she can shine as 'prima' right at the start and not have to fight her way through the ranks yet again. Enough is enough!

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Perhaps someone could alert Mr. McKenzie of her availability and he could entice her to ABT with an offer to be Principal. After all, she is that company's best Odette/Odile, Nikiya, Raymonda, Lilac, Myrtha, "Mozartiana",...

I could not put it any better.....my ABT attendance will seriously dwindle next season...for the coming season I hav e tickets to see Part, Ananiashvilli and Vishneva---the rest of the roster has never measured up for me to TRUE ballerina status.

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All I can say is that Veronika made ABT a more interesting and diverse company. But she needs to be a prima, not a soloist because she is so different, so unique. This uniqueness also makes her not an ideal "team player" which is what McKenzie clearly wants. I am not sure that given the way her career has been shaped that she is so "adored" by McKenzie but that is just informed speculation.

Clearly last season was supposed to be the turnaround where she was featured in the opening night gala with the other principals, given the opening night of a new production and danced a new role in a full-length classic, "La Bayadere". Well, it didn't happen quite so smoothly. Her performance in the opening night gala was a dud. I must disagree with Natalia, I found her lovely but miscast as Aurora but she didn't disgrace herself or the company or Petipa. Much of it was lovely and her serenity and grace helped anchor that messy production. She brought class to the evening. Unfortunately perhaps the failure of the production rubbed off on her, conveniently for the real malefactors. The "Bayadere" was a total success, especially the second evening. Then she got injured yet again and missed the yearly event of her Odette/Odile in "Swan Lake" with Marcelo. I am very sad to see the splitting up of the Marcelo/Veronika partnership. That had magic that consoled one for losing Ferri/Bocca.

This has been coming for some time. I am afraid but when the casting for the Fall City Center season went up, I knew that Veronika's moment had come and passed. Good things were not going to happen for her at ABT. I think Veronika can take some of the blame, her dancing and physical conditioning have been uneven - especially in her first seasons when she was new to the company. Rehearsing and classes may not have been as smooth and stress-free as possible due to some language barriers and insecurities. Despite not dancing all that often, she has had a full share of injuries over the last six years. It seems she also plateaued at the Kirov-Mariinsky before she left Russia. I wish her the best and hope she finds a wonderful new home somewhere where she can fulfill all her potential in an understanding and supportive environment that also challenges her, supports her talent and uniqueness and imposes the discipline that will make her talent fully manifest itself.

You take our love with you, Veronika.

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I'm not surprised; it's about time she made this decision.

Faux Pas wrote,

All I can say is that Veronika made ABT a more interesting and diverse company. But she needs to be a prima, not a soloist because she is so different, so unique. This uniqueness also makes her not an ideal "team player" which is what McKenzie clearly wants. I am not sure that given the way her career has been shaped that she is so "adored" by McKenzie but that is just informed speculation.

Roger that.

Good luck to you Vika - much love always :(!

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Do you think that Part's talents could perhaps be better served in a smaller, chamber-sized company, i.e., be the undisputed 'prima' of a smaller company, rather than fighting through the ranks of yet another mega-troupe?

What chamber-sized company could contain her talent? It hasn't really worked for Monique Meunier, and I don't think it will work for Part. She could go the Sylve route and be a nomadic ballerina of sorts, but she doesn't seem to be the type who could handle that kind of demand.

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That's a sad article. I hope things work out for Veronika. :(

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Perhaps someone could alert Mr. McKenzie of her availability and he could entice her to ABT with an offer to be Principal.......

I could not put it any better.....my ABT attendance will seriously dwindle next season...for the coming season I have tickets to see Part, Ananiashvilli and Vishneva---the rest of the roster has never measured up for me to TRUE ballerina status.

Promoting Part to principal at ABT would be a very good idea. I'm frankly surprised that it hasn't happened already..., but such a promotion would also demand of Kevin to provide Part (and her grateful audiences) ballets in which Part would dance strongly and more frequently. Part also needs her own, tall, strong, complimentary partner... instead of sharing Hallberg and Gomes with other (already listed as) principal ladies. All of these factors, I think, have kept Part from a more satisfying career at ABT. Yes, that article was sad.

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What a mistake she is making. I will miss her performances, too. But where is she going to find a major company that will make her its star, give her all the rehearsal time she believes she needs, give her one or two tall partners who she can rely on exclusively, and focus on selecting rep that makes her look good?

The article referenced above is certainly sympathetic to Veronika's difficult and stalled journey at ABT, but hasn't some of this been experienced by a lot of other dancers there who have managed to overcome issues of language learning, opening a bank account and grasping "politics"? ABT is a company made stronger by its immigrants, all of whom have had to learn English, learn how to open a bank account, learn how to excel under less than optimal rehearsal conditions, etc., and embrace enthusiastically other forms of dance and choreography. Everyone isn't good at everything. We don't see Murphy as Giselle, we don't see Kent as Kitri, we don't see Reyes as Odette/Odile. I don't see Veronika excelling in major MacMillan dramatic works, but she has every right to try to convince a major company to let her try if that is what she needs to feel fulfilled.

She should stay in New York, I say selfishly, and work out the problems. She has a lot of support here, more than any other place.

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We don't know what her real reason for leaving is and wouldn't be so quick to judge her actions based on what's given in the article. Part seems awfully reluctant to talk about her situation, so I would assume it's more than not fitting into the ABT culture. The bottom line is, she's unhappy there and her loyal fans should support her decision to leave and seek out something better for herself. The problem is we can't figure out a place that would be a perfect fit for her. Part's New York audience will sorely miss her, but hopefully this does not mean the last of her presence here.

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One thing I don't think was a good idea was announcing in the interview the fact that she wanted to dance with the Royal Ballet. Yes, I think it would be a plus for both parties but usually ballet companies like to be the ones who take the initiative. Part is not such a Makarova/Ananiashvili/Vishneva prima ballerina superstar that she can tell a company "I want to join your company" and they will immediately comply with her wishes. Makarova when she defected wanted to join the Royal Ballet but I believe Sibley or Merle Park said "over my dead body" and Makarova had to settle for ABT. Makarova said that she understood their attitude since all these ladies had danced for years in the shadow of Fonteyn and weren't going to be displaced by a foreign import.

I also wonder if Part is considered "damaged goods" inside the ballet world. Many ballerinas have left their home companies and just disappeared into nothingness, occasional reports of guesting but then zip. Meunier is one sad example. Giuseppe Picone gave an interview where he announced that he was going to be made principal at ABT except that he got injured and that he was going to be Kevin McKenzie's successor as a dancer. Then his contract was not renewed at the end of that season. I haven't heard much of him since. A happy counter-example is the fortunate career of Alexandra Ansanelli at the Royal Ballet. The fate of Ansanelli would be the best of all possible outcomes for Veronika, the fate of Meunier, the worst.

I think the Het Ballet in Amsterdam would take Veronika and Marcelo Gomes guests there frequently. That seems the most practical move.

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What a mistake she is making. I will miss her performances, too. But where is she going to find a major company that will make her its star, give her all the rehearsal time she believes she needs, give her one or two tall partners who she can rely on exclusively, and focus on selecting rep that makes her look good?

The article referenced above is certainly sympathetic to Veronika's difficult and stalled journey at ABT, but hasn't some of this been experienced by a lot of other dancers there who have managed to overcome issues of language learning, opening a bank account and grasping "politics"? ABT is a company made stronger by its immigrants, all of whom have had to learn English, learn how to open a bank account, learn how to excel under less than optimal rehearsal conditions, etc., and embrace enthusiastically other forms of dance and choreography. Everyone isn't good at everything. We don't see Murphy as Giselle, we don't see Kent as Kitri, we don't see Reyes as Odette/Odile. I don't see Veronika excelling in major MacMillan dramatic works, but she has every right to try to convince a major company to let her try if that is what she needs to feel fulfilled.

She should stay in New York, I say selfishly, and work out the problems. She has a lot of support here, more than any other place.

I don't know if she dances Kitri these days,but about 10 years ago I saw her at the MET dancing Kitri to Corella's Basilio.

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I don't think she's ever done Kitri. She's done Mercedes and the Dryad Queen.

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I don't think she's ever done Kitri. She's done Mercedes and the Dryad Queen.

Yes she did. As I've said it was about 10 years ago at the MET and I have a program to prove with a full cast.

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Veronika Part only joined ABT in time for the 2002 City Center season. She wouldn't have performed with ABT 10 years ago. She didn't make her Met debut until 1999 with the Kirov. They didn't perform Don Q during that tour. They did perform it during their 2002 Met visit, but Part only performed in Jewels (2 Emeralds perfs.), a big swan in Swan Lake and one Saturday mat. in the lead of Swan Lake. And with Corella? How would he be able to partner her? Are you thinking of Vishneva?

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Veronika Part only joined ABT in time for the 2002 City Center season. She wouldn't have performed with ABT 10 years ago. She didn't make her Met debut until 1999 with the Kirov. They didn't perform Don Q during that tour. They did perform it during their 2002 Met visit, but Part only performed in Jewels (2 Emeralds perfs.), a big swan in Swan Lake and one Saturday mat. in the lead of Swan Lake. And with Corella? How would he be able to partner her? Are you thinking of Vishneva?

Ididn't mean Part at all.It was in reference to an e-mail about Kent not doing Kitri and that's whom I saw with Corella in Don Q at the Met.

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This whole idea of Part staying in New York and working out her problems or McKenzie having a Scrooge in the last scene of "A Christmas Carol" total change of heart and making Veronika a principal is quixotic. That would be wonderful, but it ain't gonna happen. It is also likely that neither party wants it to happen. Remember Christine Dunham who was a principal with ABT in the eighties? She had a baby in the nineties and never got her full strength back as a dancer. She was kept on season after season still listed as a principal dancing not her great classical roles but the Czardas Lead Dancer and Bathilde and an occasional Hanna in "The Merry Widow". That could be Part's fate as well. Having the title but no performances. Really she faces a difficult path either way - either stay at ABT and know you are going nowhere or face the unknown with the requisite potential difficulties and failures. She has chosen the latter route.

Better pursue other opportunities in a less compromised environment, a fresh start. However, Veronika could take the problems she had at ABT with her wherever she goes - technical issues, etc.

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Julie has in the past done Don Q. - I think even a few years ago in Tokyo - but my point was that she is not a current Kitri because the company has dancers who are much more suitable for the role. Reyes performed Swan Lake in another company, but not ABT, because there are principals who are more strongly suited for the role. A dancer's employer may not view her capabilities as she views them; so, unless the dancer is self-producing, she has to follow management's decisions or leave.

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Better pursue other opportunities in a less compromised environment, a fresh start. However, Veronika could take the problems she had at ABT with her wherever she goes - technical issues, etc.
Europe is full of second-tier opera house companies, and many perform Macmillan ballets. I'm sure some would welcome Part as a ballerina. She could raise the company's profile, and they could give her a suitable rep.
. . . [T]he company has dancers who are much more suitable for the role.
This is not always a factor in ABT casting decisions, though. I wonder if the decision to drop Kitri from Kent or Kent from Kitri was as much Julie's as the company's.

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Faux Pas wrote,

This whole idea of Part staying in New York and working out her problems or McKenzie having a Scrooge in the last scene of "A Christmas Carol" total change of heart and making Veronika a principal is quixotic. That would be wonderful, but it ain't gonna happen.

That's the truth. Even if she were to reconsider, it wouldn't be the last scene in "A Christmas Carol," but rather

the first scene in"Oliver Twist," when Oliver faces Mr. Bumble with the empty bowl saying, ". . . please sir,

I want some more." Part's journey has been one of patient endurance and protracted disappointment in

both ABT and the Maryinsky. If she were to stay with ABT, what would she have to look forward to?

More of the same? Lady Capulet until retirement? Probably. It doesn't surprise me that she made this

decision. Whatever life has in store for her, I wish her great success.

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This whole idea of Part staying in New York and working out her problems or McKenzie having a Scrooge in the last scene of "A Christmas Carol" total change of heart and making Veronika a principal is quixotic. That would be wonderful, but it ain't gonna happen. It is also likely that neither party wants it to happen.

Even if McKenzie miraculously offers Veronika principal status, that doesn't guarantee that she will stay. Her problems with ABT probably go beyond that.

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We don't know what her real reason for leaving is and wouldn't be so quick to judge her actions based on what's given in the article. Part seems awfully reluctant to talk about her situation, so I would assume it's more than not fitting into the ABT culture. The bottom line is, she's unhappy there and her loyal fans should support her decision to leave and seek out something better for herself. The problem is we can't figure out a place that would be a perfect fit for her.

I thought this was a very outspoken interview considering Part hasn't even left ABT yet. I feel very bad for Part. I know from experience how very difficult it can be to move to the US. On the other hand, even if no-one was doing much hand-holding, by now she should have learnt that Americans love people who can make lemonade from lemons. :angel_not:

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This whole idea of Part staying in New York and working out her problems or McKenzie having a Scrooge in the last scene of "A Christmas Carol" total change of heart and making Veronika a principal is quixotic. That would be wonderful, but it ain't gonna happen. It is also likely that neither party wants it to happen.

Even if McKenzie miraculously offers Veronika principal status, that doesn't guarantee that she will stay. Her problems with ABT probably go beyond that.

I think she that if her Sleeping Beauty had been more of an unequivocal success she might have been promoted. A former ABT principal once told me that she felt her "test" was Etudes. It went well and shortly thereafter she was promoted. It's not really that simple but I think that dancers in ABT are given opportunities and if they don't rise to the occasion they hit a plateau career wise.

Part is a very special dancer, (who I have been critical of in some roles) I wish her well.

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Julie has in the past done Don Q. - I think even a few years ago in Tokyo - but my point was that she is not a current Kitri because the company has dancers who are much more suitable for the role.

Julie Kent danced Kitri in Tokyo in July 2005 with Jose Carenno and I saw the performance but it was not a good Kitri..she had problems with fouttes, she is not a technical dancer. I read in an interveiw that she was asked by McKenzie that she had the choice of dancing Raymonda or Kitri, and she chose the latter because she seldom performs the role.

As a matter of fact Part replaced Annaniashivili in Raymonda at that occasion and it was a failure, she fell down at the act 3 last variation. So many dancers stumbled that day but Part was the worst.

But I really loved her Kirov elegant style and I will miss her so badly. Her Odette waas so beautiful and dramatic.

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Julie Kent danced Kitri in Tokyo in July 2005 with Jose Carenno and I saw the performance but it was not a good Kitri..she had problems with fouttes, she is not a technical dancer. I read in an interveiw that she was asked by McKenzie that she had the choice of dancing Raymonda or Kitri, and she chose the latter because she seldom performs the role.

As a matter of fact Part replaced Annaniashivili in Raymonda at that occasion and it was a failure, she fell down at the act 3 last variation. So many dancers stumbled that day but Part was the worst.

But I really loved her Kirov elegant style and I will miss her so badly. Her Odette waas so beautiful and dramatic.

ABT should have been doing Bayadere or Corsaire given the earthquakes and typoons at that time in Japan. Irina Dvorovenko's and Max Berloserkovsky's website shows that ABT will return to Tokyo and Biwako with Swan Lake and something else in mid-July. Hope for calmer weather and steadier feet.

I wish Veronika well wherever she ends up. She obviously has not reached her peak, and needs a lot of additional opportunities to do so. But, it doesn't seem to be working for her to view herself as a sad victim who isn't receiving all the the help and attention which she deserves or the victim when others receive casting opportunities that she would like to have. Hopefully she will shrug this off at her new company and focus on delivering the strength and beauty that we know are within her.

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