Daniil Simkin to join ABT as soloist
Posted 01 May 2008 - 06:47 AM
What a morale crusher it must be for those talented guys in ABT's corps (and ABT is thick with them) when something like this happens.
Posted 01 May 2008 - 06:59 AM
BTW: one fellow who rose from the ranks to the top: Marcelo "the Magnificent" Gomes. Earned his status from the bottom up. Carreno, Malakhov, Stiefel, Acosta etc. were all brought in as established stars from other companies. Bocca and Corella were major wunderkind competition winners who were teenagers. They already were on their way up in the ballet world and joined as soloist or principal. Gomes worked his way up from corps on talent and hard work alone against the greatest competition in the world. Ditto Hallberg.
Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:13 AM
Several of the posters who have been concerned about the effect of this promotion on members of the corps have used the word "talented." I mean no disrespect, but is "talented" enough to sustain the push to a high-level international ballet career?
Simkin has been very successful on the international competition circuit, which seems a requirement nowadays if you want to be considered for a top job. He has also danced as a member of a major European company. Skimming the biographies of members of the ABT corps, there are not many who have achieved as much as he in such a short time.
On the other hand, employment at ABT still seems attractive to those who have reason to be ambitious in a variety of goals. For example, Joseph Phillips left Miami a soloist to take a corps position at ABT. (To be fair, his tenure at MCB was of brief duration and with with about as much impact as the blink of an eye.) Mikhail Ilyin was a successful and valuable principal at MCB before joining the ABT corps. Clearly, ABT exerts a pull on dancers of many levels of experience and ambition.
Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:44 AM
Posted 01 May 2008 - 09:29 AM
Also David Halberg began in Studio Company, (oops I just saw that you mentioned him Faux Pas him) Maxim and Irina started in the corps before they were an overnight sensation and many of the soloists have worked their way up. Basically ABT has a corps loaded with soloists however and its a long wait. I have watched Jared Mathews under David Howards tutoring constantly over the last few years and marvel at his tenacity. It was nice to see him have the opportunity to step out in Swan Lake this season even if he was in my opinion sadly miscast as Von Rothbart. I hope he gets to do some roles that are more suited to his demeanour on stage. It must be tough. But NY is such a stimulating place to be around ballet they seem to survive it.
I dont mean to take anything away from Danill. He is a REALLY talented guy and I personally will enjoy seeing him dance. I think ABT is deep with talented dancers and I wonder how many will wait around. A dancers life is short having the opportunity to dance is important. If they dont feel like they are getting it they are going to need to move on.
Here is my list of people in the corps I would like to see more of at ABT
Isabella Boylston, Zhong Jing Fang, Thomas Forster (who stood out in the corps in Swan Lake), Blaine Hoven, Mat Murphy, Simone Messmer, Renata Pavam, Joseph Phillips, Jacquelyn Reyes, Sarawanee Tanatanit, Hee Soo.
Posted 01 May 2008 - 09:31 AM
I agree with the poster who said this policy has been ever such. In retrospect, the Baryshnikov regime policy of promoting from within was the aberration. ABT has only reverted back to what it was in the 70s. (And, I freely admit that 70s-era ABT was a Golden Age for ABT.)
Posted 01 May 2008 - 10:06 AM
Well 2 years in studio company (now ABT II) is a long time when he could have been completing his training in a school setting if they did not want to "exploit" him. I believe he was already a corps member of Orlando Ballet at 16 when ABT II offered him a contract in April 2006. My guess is that he completed high school in 2007 but I could be wrong.
Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:40 PM
ABT II is a two-year program. Not all of its dancers stay for the full two years, but many do. Staying for the second year is not analogous to repeating first grade.
Posted 01 May 2008 - 04:55 PM
Posted 01 May 2008 - 10:32 PM
Posted 02 May 2008 - 05:38 AM
Posted 02 May 2008 - 06:14 AM
1. A (financial) reward for long and exemplary service.
2. To hold on to a dancer who fulfills a very specific need (e.g., the tall man needed to partner a tall star ballerina).
A company needs stability, fit, and dancers with the electricity to attract audiences. When budget constrains, I believe that talent must get first priority.
Hopefully an AD will not miss talent right under her/his nose, and not fall into "the grass is always greener on the other side" syndrome...
Posted 02 May 2008 - 06:22 AM
How about some of the women who have been languishing: Maria Bystrova, Zhong-Jing Fang et al. Anna Liceica who had a lot of potential was just thrown away. Look at all the been there, done that with the principal casting this coming season (only Cornejo and to a lesser extant Murphy have substantial new roles). There are lots of sad stories of missed opportunities at ABT and elsewhere. I am glad that Daniil is getting an opportunity and maybe if ABT adds a week to its City Center season more of these young corps dancers will get a chance.
Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:11 AM
With that being said as with any business when you make decisions like this you must always think about what affects it will have on your employees. Morale issues can be detrimental to a company's success. You can't perform a classical ballet with just one dancer.
Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:24 AM
1) Hiring Simkin may prove to be a masterstroke on ABT's part -- only time will tell. But the (perhaps) salutary act of hiring talent from outside of the company's ranks doesn't make it any less true that (a) morale within the corps may suffer, and (b) that defections may occur at a more rapid clip as a result. Now, from the artistic staff's viewpoint, having a high "burn rate" in the corps may be an acceptable trade-off if it leads to long-term replenishment of the principal ranks. (That would actually be an interesting statistical comparison -- year-to-year turnover at the corps level among the major US companies.) But it puts lie to the notion that ABT is anything more than a glittering collection of international stars. ("More stars than there are in Heaven" as it were.)
2) I don't think anyone would argue against Lucia Chase's hiring of Baryshnikov in 1974. (It did work against Kivitt but then he was already a principal of six-years standing at the time. Bad luck on his part.) My understanding of the situation at ABT in the mid-70s is that morale suffered more as a result of Chase's penchant for importing guest stars from around the world who jetted in and jetted out of New York and refused to tour than it did from hiring Baryshnikov. (Correct me if I'm wrong about that.)
3) On the matter of Blaine Hoven, Faux, you and I will just have to agree to disagree.
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