bart

Veronika Part: divided opinions?

213 posts in this topic

This has been bouncing around on the web but I hadn't seen it discussed here. Video of a Q&A with Part:

Share this post


Link to post

Nice interview. Very candid, although I was saddened to hear that she remains somewhat estranged from her family.

Share this post


Link to post

Very nice interview. Thank you, Dale.

My wish for as long as I've known about her is to see her perform Swan Lake at a Mariinsky Festival. I'm glad to hear her say that she feels that she is at the top of her career, so maybe it'll still happen and I'll still keep hoping for it.

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting insights into ABT. It seems aside from Ratmansky not much guidance is happening

Share this post


Link to post

Always interesting to hear about a dancer's background, and experiences in training and company life. She's not the first dancer to mention the difficulty of getting particular roles at ABT ("sometimes asking is not enough"). It's interesting to contrast that with more 'regional' companies like SFB, PNB and MCB where the principals generally are expected to perform in major roles for each program. It does seem strange that she's never been Giselle or Swanilda.

Share this post


Link to post

Something has always puzzled me: I've read/heard previously that Veronika had a hard time adjusting to life in NYC when she first arrived and she mentions it again here - shopping for a duvet and not knowing the name. If Kolpakova urged her to go to ABT and with Irina and Max still in the company weren't there any Russian speakers who could have given her advice or at least offered to be a shopping buddy? It seems so callous to invite an artist to join a company and then leave them on their own to sink or swim both professionally and personally. I'm glad to hear she is leading a happier life now. Another thought - she mentions Marcelo and yet is usually cast with Stearns. Please give her a Swan Lake (or Giselle) with Marcelo!

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the video, was very interesting.

Makes me sad to hear her talk about the typecasting, though. We all know it exists at ABT (and probably at most places) but it's still makes me sad that someone as talented as her will probably never get a Giselle at the Met (nor will Gillian or Stella, as well). As a non-dancer who doesn't know much about the politics of a company, I don't understand why an artistic director wouldn't give one of his principal dancers at least one shot at dancing a role like Giselle (especially considering Giselle is performed essentially every spring) to see if they could handle it.

Also sad to hear about the lack of support professionally. Her comments about Ratmansky were good to hear, though. The dancers of ABT are lucky to have him there.

Share this post


Link to post

Something has always puzzled me: I've read/heard previously that Veronika had a hard time adjusting to life in NYC when she first arrived and she mentions it again here - shopping for a duvet and not knowing the name. If Kolpakova urged her to go to ABT and with Irina and Max still in the company weren't there any Russian speakers who could have given her advice or at least offered to be a shopping buddy? It seems so callous to invite an artist to join a company and then leave them on their own to sink or swim both professionally and personally. I'm glad to hear she is leading a happier life now. Another thought - she mentions Marcelo and yet is usually cast with Stearns. Please give her a Swan Lake (or Giselle) with Marcelo!

Well ... at the time Veronika arrived I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bit of professional jealousy towards her from ABT's roster. She was already somewhat of an established star and I don;t think anyone anticipated that her road at ABT would be so rocky. She also admits in her interview that she came across as aloof and unapproachable at first, because she's shy and not used to the culture.

Share this post


Link to post

It seems so callous to invite an artist to join a company and then leave them on their own to sink or swim both professionally and personally.

I've heard of this happening at numerous companies, and I think it may partly be due to the lack of funds to set up proper support (and support staff). The attitude tends to be, "you've been given this great opportunity, now show us that you deserve it!". And the dancer/new employee ends up wondering just what was so great about this 'opportunity'. ;)

It's difficult to move to a new place, especially a new culture, and try to survive on your own. If you don't speak the language to begin with, it can be a nightmare.

And regarding Kaysta's statement:

As a non-dancer who doesn't know much about the politics of a company, I don't understand why an artistic director wouldn't give one of his principal dancers at least one shot at dancing a role like Giselle (especially considering Giselle is performed essentially every spring) to see if they could handle it.

Would this have anything to do with short program schedules, and the need to stick with certain favorite dancers (that is, the public's favorites) for those few dates? ABT does a lot of touring, so I would expect that to produce more opportunities, but perhaps Kevin McKenzie doesn't think that way. There does seem to be a bit of "rigidity" to the ABT approach.

I'm much more familiar with SFB, and it just hasn't been a problem there for principals to dance starring roles (perhaps more times than they care to). 2015 is actually the first year when there would seem to be more willing female principals and soloists at SFB than parts, but, they've been adding extra dates to the season, and if last year's tour is any indication, there will be lots of extra opportunities there. Where there is a will - and a chance for more money - there is a way.

Share this post


Link to post

Everyone is making interesting points.

Part was moving to a new country without knowing the language or culture. Did she ask if there would be a support system? What were her expectations?

Her example of not knowing how to shop for a duvet is kind of funny. I'll bet a bunch of people in the US don't know that word.

She must have have some help. After all she found an apartment and got groceries.

Share this post


Link to post

Also, if Veronika felt that management was callous, at least she can console herself with the fact that it's not personal. She joins a long list at ABT who spoke of a harsh, callous, management system and non-existent rehearsals and coaching. It seems to be the ABT way. The good thing was eventually it worked out for Veronika. She got to be principal and dances regularly in lead roles. There are so many other ABT casualties during the Kevin McKenzie era ...

Share this post


Link to post

And regarding Kaysta's statement:

As a non-dancer who doesn't know much about the politics of a company, I don't understand why an artistic director wouldn't give one of his principal dancers at least one shot at dancing a role like Giselle (especially considering Giselle is performed essentially every spring) to see if they could handle it.

Would this have anything to do with short program schedules, and the need to stick with certain favorite dancers (that is, the public's favorites) for those few dates? ABT does a lot of touring, so I would expect that to produce more opportunities, but perhaps Kevin McKenzie doesn't think that way. There does seem to be a bit of "rigidity" to the ABT approach.

I'm much more familiar with SFB, and it just hasn't been a problem there for principals to dance starring roles (perhaps more times than they care to). 2015 is actually the first year when there would seem to be more willing female principals and soloists at SFB than parts, but, they've been adding extra dates to the season, and if last year's tour is any indication, there will be lots of extra opportunities there. Where there is a will - and a chance for more money - there is a way.

I get needing to keep the "customer" base happy, given how important fundraising is, but KM typecasts even his most popular dancers. As far as I know, Gillian Murphy has only danced Giselle with RNZB, not with ABT. I would buy tickets to see Gill in Giselle in a heartbeat, and I don't think I'm the only one. But I guess I'm getting off topic.

All I know, is that of the few performances I've seen of Veronika Part (Kitri, Nikiya and O/O), I've thoroughly enjoyed. Watching that video, I wonder if she is really happy at ABT, and hopefully she won't get sick of the politics and depart for different pastures.

Share this post


Link to post

She celebrates 20 years on the stage next year. Why would she pull-up roots and start again in another company? She must be 37/38, although she remains lovely.

It may sound cruel but the best way for an adult to learn a new language is the cold-turkey, sink-or-swim approach. No coddling; just plunge in. Folks did her a favor.

Share this post


Link to post