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Stella Abrera


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#31 angelica

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:09 AM

I think Part was about 29 or 30 when she was promoted. She was never out for a long period of time due to a substantial injury during her soloist years at ABT, to my recollection. Steady wins the race, as they say.


This is either outdated paternalism on the part of ABT ("it's for her own good") or else they're afraid their workers compensation bill will go up. Many ABT dancers have been injured, some short-term but multiple (Cornejo), some longer-term (Seo, Hallberg), and same at NYCB (Jenny Somogyi comes immediately to mind.) After dancing 10 Auroras in 30 days in Royal Ballet of New Zealand's Sleeping Beauty, it is apparent that Abrera has the ability to sustain herself in full-length ballets.

(On a completely different topic, I'll be out of town just long enough to miss ALL the performances of the new Ratmansky ballet(s), so I'm looking to my fellow Alerters to keep me informed. Thanks in advance, everyone.)

#32 abatt

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:21 AM

I think Hallberg's, Cornejo's and Somogyi's long term injuries all took place after they were promoted to principal. It's not a matter of paternalism or insurance. Part of the evaluation of whether a dancer will become a principal relates to stamina- does this person have the physical ability to perform lead roles on a reliably regular basis. It's not solely about the quality of the dancing, divorced from all other considerations. Back injuries are particularly onerous and often return. Look at Sara Mearns, and how many times she has been out for long stretches due to repeated back related injuries. I don't think having long term injuries as a soloist instills confidence that an individual will be able to handle the physical demands of being a principal. Let me add that I happen to enjoy Stella's work very much, and I wish she had been promoted to principal.

#33 Natalia

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 10:59 AM

Part became an ABT Principal in 2009. She was born in 1978....so became a principal at 30 or 31.

Stella Abrera joined ABT as a corps member in 1996 - the same year when Part graduated from the Vaganova Academy and joined the Mariinsky corps. In a best-cast-scenario, they are exactly the same age; more likely Abrera is a year or two older than Part (?).

Never say never. Haven't one or two recent POB promotions to etoile taken place when the dancer was in her mid/late-30s? Ciaravola, for example.

#34 angelica

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:05 AM

I think Hallberg's, Cornejo's and Somogyi's long term injuries all took place after they were promoted to principal. It's not a matter of paternalism or insurance. Part of the evaluation of whether a dancer will become a principal relates to stamina- does this person have the physical ability to perform lead roles on a reliably regular basis. It's not solely about the quality of the dancing, divorced from all other considerations. Back injuries are particularly onerous and often return. Look at Sara Mearns, and how many times she has been out for long stretches due to repeated back related injuries. I don't think having long term injuries as a soloist instills confidence that an individual will be able to handle the physical demands of being a principal. Let me add that I happen to enjoy Stella's work very much, and I wish she had been promoted to principal.


You may be right, abatt, but the larger picture (e.g., Aurora) shows that Stella has the stamina to keep up with the demands of principal status. And she has not had any recurrence of her injury since she returned to the stage.

On the plus side, we are getting a lot of practice spelling the word "principal."

#35 angelica

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:08 AM

Part became an ABT Principal in 2009. She was born in 1978....so became a principal at 30 or 31.

Stella Abrera joined ABT as a corps member in 1996 - the same year when Part graduated from the Vaganova Academy and joined the Mariinsky corps. In a best-cast-scenario, they are exactly the same age; more likely Abrera is a year or two older than Part (?).

Never say never. Haven't one or two recent POB promotions to etoile taken place when the dancer was in her mid/late-30s? Ciaravola, for example.

I agree, Natalia. We must continue to advocate for Stella. I believe Marie-Agnes Gillot became an etoile in her mid/late thirties also.

#36 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:15 PM

So what actually can we do? Is there a way to reach Kevin McKenzie by e-mail that anyone knows? If somehow a number of us could get word to him by e-mail, social media, whatever, that we all spend a lot of money on ABT tickets and we're huge Stella Abrera fans and we would buy even more tickets if she were a principal and dancing principal roles? I'm just thinking off the top of my head here. It might not do any good, but it certainly wouldn't hurt and at least we would have tried. What do you Ballet Talkers think? Any good suggestons?

#37 angelica

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 01:23 PM

First, thank you, Helene, for making this a new thread.

I don't have any good ideas. When the new Director of Membership, Grey Johnson, came on board last year, I spoke to him at a performance of Nutcracker at BAM, asking why Stella Abrera had not been promoted to Principal Dancer. He said he was so new that he didn't know anything about the situation and would ask around and get back to me. When he got back to me he said that the Membership side and the Artistic side of the Company are completely separate, and the only thing he could say was that Kevin McKenzie has the final say on matters such as this. I then sent an email to Kevin McKenzie, expressing my devotion to the Company and asking that Stella be promoted, giving a litany of reasons for my request. I had been told by the Membership Department to send it via them, asking them to please pass it on. I don't know if McKenzie ever got it. Maybe it's possible to email KMcKenzie@abt.org. and perhaps I ought to have tried to do that.

#38 volcanohunter

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 01:42 PM

Have you considered organizing a Twitter campaign? ABT has an account, and tweets in favor of Abrera would have the benefit of being public, wouldn't they?. (I am a Twitter ignoramus, so I really don't know.) I've sent e-mails to all sorts of people and organizations, but I'm often left wondering whether they ever reach the intended recipient or simply end up deleted by the gatekeeper.

#39 angelica

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

Have you considered organizing a Twitter campaign? ABT has an account, and tweets in favor of Abrera would have the benefit of being public, wouldn't they?. (I am a Twitter ignoramus, so I really don't know.) I've sent e-mails to all sorts of people and organizations, but I'm often left wondering whether they ever reach the intended recipient or simply end up deleted by the gatekeeper.


Exactly, volcanohunter, I have no idea whether my email ever reached its intended destination. Twitter might be a good idea, especially if such a campaign "goes viral," as they say. I don't have a Twitter account and am also a Twitter ignoramus, so if anyone else thinks this might be a good idea, please post instructions on this forum of how to proceed. Thank you. The only thing we don't want is for ABT to consider it spam.

#40 Jayne

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 05:31 PM

Ahem: I'd like to bring up that 3 years ago I went to the post performance Q&A session at PNB. Kiyon Gaines was one of the featured dancers, and Peter Boal was the host. I raised my hand and complimented Kiyon on his years of wonderful performances, and then asked "Mr Boal, when are you going to promote Kiyon Gaines to soloist?" The other 50-odd people in room chuckled and clapped loudly. Somewhat uncomfortably, Peter said something to the effect of: "I'm going to have to ask the dancers to stop bringing their friends to these sessions to plant questions". But he did promote Kiyon 2 years later. In the book "Wear Snowflakes Dance & Swear" this exact issue was discussed. At the time, Peter Boal felt Kiyon would have more opportunities to perform on stage if he was a corps member, because soloists traditionally compete with principals for their roles, so they are fewer and further between. Obviously he changed his mind at some point.

So I suggest that all of you do the same - do it at a performance, lecture, demonstration, etc (so Kevin McKenzie knows you bought a ticket and support ABT) and pigeon-hole him on the issue (in a nice way).

Furthermore, be vocal at Stella's performances! Yell your bravas, stand up, and physically show that you think she is outstanding! Encourage others to do the same. If Stella's performances receive particularly strong responses, I think Kevin is more likely to promote her. Finally, invite your friends to go to her perforamances. Strong box office makes a difference too!

#41 canbelto

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 05:53 PM

I think Stella's a beautiful dancer and agree that she deserves to be promoted to principal, but I'm wary of any kind of "campaign" like this because ... well, there's obviously a lot of politics backstage. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and such a "campaign" could even backfire if Kevin McKenzie thought Stella was in any way involved or if she was even paying for such a campaign. Her husband also works there. I would hate to think that I made a tense situation even worse or if McKenzie reacted badly and Stella and her husband were punished for it. ABT seems from the outside to be a rather autocratically run organization, with a rigid hierarchy. I just don't know how much any campaign, no matter how well-meaning, would help.

#42 vipa

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 06:14 PM

I think Stella's a beautiful dancer and agree that she deserves to be promoted to principal, but I'm wary of any kind of "campaign" like this because ... well, there's obviously a lot of politics backstage. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and such a "campaign" could even backfire if Kevin McKenzie thought Stella was in any way involved or if she was even paying for such a campaign. Her husband also works there. I would hate to think that I made a tense situation even worse or if McKenzie reacted badly and Stella and her husband were punished for it. ABT seems from the outside to be a rather autocratically run organization, with a rigid hierarchy. I just don't know how much any campaign, no matter how well-meaning, would help.


I agree Canbelto. As much as I admire Abrera's dancing an AD has a lot to consider. I think Seo's promotion to principal an unfortunate mistake (what was the hurry), but zt the same time a promotion should be by popular demand - IMO. We don't have the big picture.

#43 volcanohunter

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:11 PM

I agree that a campaign should not explicitly ask for Abrera's promotion, but a lot of "I love Stella!" responses after her performances would reinforce the vociferous reaction Jayne rightly suggests.

#44 angelica

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:42 AM

I think Stella's a beautiful dancer and agree that she deserves to be promoted to principal, but I'm wary of any kind of "campaign" like this because ... well, there's obviously a lot of politics backstage. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and such a "campaign" could even backfire if Kevin McKenzie thought Stella was in any way involved or if she was even paying for such a campaign. Her husband also works there. I would hate to think that I made a tense situation even worse or if McKenzie reacted badly and Stella and her husband were punished for it. ABT seems from the outside to be a rather autocratically run organization, with a rigid hierarchy. I just don't know how much any campaign, no matter how well-meaning, would help.


I agree with this. A "campaign" is too risky. You never know what the "unintended consequences" would be.

#45 puppytreats

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:47 AM

She is one of my favorite dancers onstage, with technique and skills that surpass many others. She is also very well spoken and makes excellent presentations when discussing her art and her own experiences, such as during her presentation at the Guggenheim.


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