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#1 Juliet


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Posted 22 January 2002 - 05:35 PM

Abi Stafford....she was just made soloist today at NYCB.

#2 Manhattnik


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Posted 22 January 2002 - 05:55 PM

Well, more power to her, but it is saddening to think that, once again, Rachel Rutherford was passed over. I suppose Peter must figure that he can use Stafford for "ballerina" roles that he can't use Rutherford for (I don't see Rutherford dancing Theme anytime soon), but I don't think that detracts from the great contribution Rutherford's made over the past few years.

#3 Calliope


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Posted 22 January 2002 - 07:35 PM

I'm am tempted to boycott NYCB until Rutherford gets promoted.
Then again, I remember when Miranda Weese got promoted ahead of Jeny Ringer. I threatened then too!
I can't imagine what is holding Rutherford's promotion back.

#4 britomart



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Posted 22 January 2002 - 09:49 PM

As a long-time reader of Ballet Alert, and an even longer NYCB attendee, this news made me come out of my shell to try a post! While I agree wholeheartedly that it is time and past for Rachel Rutherford's promotion, this does not in any way diminish Ms. Stafford's achievement of attaining the rank of soloist at such a young age. Having seen Abi at twelve, I remember thinking "This one is definitely going to be a ballerina," and I am thrilled to see her proving me right! She does have things to work on--projection, as Leigh Witchel noted, and texture, but to give credit where credit is due, she has an impeccable technique--something she works very hard for, despite the ease which she projects--and remarkable aplomb. I congratulate her, and, like many, look forward to seeing her develop in this wonderful repertoire.

[ January 22, 2002: Message edited by: britomart ]

#5 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 22 January 2002 - 10:46 PM

Britomart -

I'm glad you delurked and joined in the discussion. Please continue to do so!

My years as a dancer color my opinion of Stafford, and in Theme and Variations especially. It's so viciously difficult, I'm genuinely impressed by someone who can do it with that pure a technique. I don't know what the future holds for her, but I'm interested to find out and wish her well.

I also don't think that Stafford getting a promotion necessarily means that Rutherford won't. This is a special event, probably precipitated by Stafford's debut in Theme and not that related what will happen to Rutherford. It was bound to happen, but my guess is we may see other promotions this season still. My money is actually on Ansanelli to be promoted to principal by season's end.

#6 Manhattnik


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Posted 22 January 2002 - 11:00 PM

Let's not forget one main element of being made a soloist is that one doesn't dance as much as before, whether it's due to no longer having to be third swan from the left, or because one falls into the Peter Martins Soloist Limbo that seemed to swallow Tinsley and Van Kipnis not long after their promotions (Ansanelli, too, although she had her long bout with a foot injury to contend with, as well).

I certainly didn't mean to imply that Stafford's promotion was undeserved. I have no doubts she has the potential to become a workhorse of the repertory, but whether she'll be a Melissa Hayden or an Eleanor d'Antuono remains to be seen.

Regarding Rutherford, well, she's been cast as a soloist for years (except she still does the third swan from the left). I can't imagine what kind of message this is sending (well, I can, but I'd rather not). I can't help but think if Peter really wanted her to be a soloist, she'd have been one long since.

The way Ansanelli's dancing, I wouldn't be surprised to see her promoted. I'd love to see Van Kipnis promoted, too, but I don't see it happening until she gets more principal roles.

[ January 22, 2002: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]

#7 Alexandra


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Posted 22 January 2002 - 11:09 PM

Welcome, Britomart -- I hope you'll continue posting and not withdraw into Lurkdom smile.gif

On soloists not dancing, it was this way in the Good Old Days too. When I started watching City Ballet there were some soloists who danced a lot -- like Colleen Neary -- and others whom I barely saw (like Susie Hendl and Suzanne Pilarre). Some people were promoted never to be seen again (or seen only in Serenade, a ballet that was not very well cared for in the late 1970s).

I think "Soloist" is an awkward category for companies that don't have predominantly hierarchical repertories. You're really either a star or you're not -- unless a company needs to flesh out those big Petipa ballets.

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