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2011 Met season - official announcement

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I was very surprised and disappointed that ABT will not perform any of the rep works (T&V, Lilac Garden, possibly Duo Concertant) during the MET season that they are bringing to the Kennedy Center. It was also particularly disappointing because they did not do a City Center season this year in New York.

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I was very surprised and disappointed that ABT will not perform any of the rep works (T&V, Lilac Garden, possibly Duo Concertant) during the MET season that they are bringing to the Kennedy Center. It was also particularly disappointing because they did not do a City Center season this year in New York.

Yeah, I'd love to see these too. But perhaps some of them will show up in the schedule if ABT does a Fall 2011 season at City Center. I hope so. But we may have to see if they do another season of Nutcracker in NYC at the end of 2011, that might interfere with a season at City Center just weeks earlier.

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I was very surprised and disappointed that ABT will not perform any of the rep works (T&V, Lilac Garden, possibly Duo Concertant) during the MET season that they are bringing to the Kennedy Center. It was also particularly disappointing because they did not do a City Center season this year in New York.

Yeah, I'd love to see these too. But perhaps some of them will show up in the schedule if ABT does a Fall 2011 season at City Center. I hope so. But we may have to see if they do another season of Nutcracker in NYC at the end of 2011, that might interfere with a season at City Center just weeks earlier.

ABT has a five year commitment for the Nutcracker at BAM, but hopefully, they will still be able to do the usual Fall season prior to that (next year).

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Yes, I recall reading that ABT has a 5 year contract with BAM for Nutcrackers. This year and next it will a 2 week season, but in future years the number of weeks at BAM for Nutcracker will increase to 4. Given that they operate with a skeletal principal staff during non-MET engagements, it is hard to imagine how they could present so many weeks of Nutcracker and also do a City Center engagement in the fall.

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Given that they operate with a skeletal principal staff during non-MET engagements, it is hard to imagine how they could present so many weeks of Nutcracker and also do a City Center engagement in the fall.

That's my thought too. It just doesn't seem likely that they can do an October-November run at City Center and then a Dec-Jan run at BAM. Not only the smaller principal roster but that's a lot of tickets to sell in one market, or maybe more precisely, in two similar overlapping markets. (I think the City Center audience and the holiday Nutcracker audience are slightly different but many local ticket buyers will fall in both groups)

Maybe they will do a Fall season but keep it down to a week or ten days. I hope, anyway. I enjoy the mixed programs a lot.

This year they are at NJ PAC. Maybe that's part of a solution. That's VERY convenient for me!

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I just received another ABT renewal booklet from ABT for the Spring MET season. The cover is photo, by Fabrizio Ferri, is of Hallberg and Murphy in Cinderella. It's a terrible photo. It has been airbrushed and altered so much that they look like mannequins rather than people (especially Murphy).

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Abatt, I don't think it looks air-brushed so much - more like they've "made-under" Gillian so her face looks smudgy with cinders and dirty from cleaning the hearth. Looks like she has on no eye make-up. I had to take a second look to be sure it was really Gillian.

PS - Can't quite figure out the photo of Hallberg on the Bright Stream page! It's really funny and I bet he had a hoot doing it. But does it have anything to do with Bright Stream??

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Abatt, I don't think it looks air-brushed so much - more like they've "made-under" Gillian so her face looks smudgy with cinders and dirty from cleaning the hearth. Looks like she has on no eye make-up. I had to take a second look to be sure it was really Gillian.

PS - Can't quite figure out the photo of Hallberg on the Bright Stream page! It's really funny and I bet he had a hoot doing it. But does it have anything to do with Bright Stream??

If i remember correctly, one of the leading male soloist pretends to be a ballerina and does a Sylphide-like variation.

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In the newly printed brochure, the program for the mixed rep evening is now New Ratmansky, New Wheeldon and Shadowplay. There is no mention of a new Millipied work on the program. That is at odds with their previous season announcement.

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In the newly printed brochure, the program for the mixed rep evening is now New Ratmansky, New Wheeldon and Shadowplay. There is no mention of a new Millipied work on the program. That is at odds with their previous season announcement.

Interesting...All four works are still listed on the "Calendar" page on the ABT site:

http://www.abt.org/calendar.aspx?startdate=5/1/2011

And still no word on the TBA casting for Don Quixote May 21 and Swan Lake July 2.

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In the newly printed brochure, the program for the mixed rep evening is now New Ratmansky, New Wheeldon and Shadowplay. There is no mention of a new Millipied work on the program. That is at odds with their previous season announcement.

Interesting...All four works are still listed on the "Calendar" page on the ABT site:

http://www.abt.org/calendar.aspx?startdate=5/1/2011

I got my brochure yesterday and was looking at the ABT online calendar last night. I looked at that mixed bill and thought, that could be a very long evening!! I'd be happy with one less of the new premieres, my pick to ditch would be the Millipied so I hope the brochure contains the later information.

Also I'm wondering if the "new Millipied" that is being brought to Moscow in MArch is the same work that ABT may preform in NY in May

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On Hallberg imitating a ballerina in Bright Stream, NT doesn't really mimic the pointe work. I wonder if a male principal dancer could do that kind of thing, or whether it is specific to the training for a ballerina?

Separately, the front of the current brochure has a picture of Gillian that seems different from her prior pictures not only due to the lack of makeup, but also by the weight she appears to have lost if the picture is not airbrushed.

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On Hallberg imitating a ballerina in Bright Stream, NT doesn't really mimic the pointe work. I wonder if a male principal dancer could do that kind of thing, or whether it is specific to the training for a ballerina?

Separately, the front of the current brochure has a picture of Gillian that seems different from her prior pictures not only due to the lack of makeup, but also by the weight she appears to have lost if the picture is not airbrushed.

I saw Murphy a few weeks ago at a performance where she was in the audience. She looks exactly like she has always looked, and has not lost weight. The photo on the brochure is the worst I have ever seen from Ferri. They have altered her image to make her look like a figure out of a wax museum.

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ABT has added some casting info on its website. Part's partner for SL is Cory. Bolle is partnering Paloma in Giselle. I'm not too happy about the Stearns partnership with Part for SL. I was hoping it would be Bolle. Also, Reyes will be partnered by Radetsky in Cinderella.

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I saw above that people had a question about whether David Hallberg would actually be performing in pointe shoes for The Bright Stream. ABT released their e-newsletter (I'm assuming this is appropriate to link to because it was released by the company) and there is a great shot of Hallberg in pointe shoes. Here is the link: The Bright Stream

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Speaking of Hallberg (and other dancers with lovely arches), does anyone have any speculation on the Seminova/Hallberg DQ?

I usually do 4 Sat. matinees with my Mom (she doesn't like to stay up late) and a couple evenings with my friend. It seems that in the past 2 years they've really improved the casting for Sat. matinees. Last season we got an Osipova/Hallberg R & J and a Murphy/ Carreno SL. Perhaps the management has noticed that the matinees sell very well.

Nice to see opportunities for Maria Riccetto. She ended up partnering Simkin in Nutcracker and she appears with him again in Coppelia. (I heard their Nut pas de deux was excellent, although regretfully I was not there.) Someone mentioned that they hoped Sarah Lane would sort of experience opportunities via a partnership with Simkin. Although I admire Sarah Lane, I personally would quite prefer these chances go to Maria. She not only has paid her dues, but is a much more consistent dancer, and, although it might not be mentioned much, she can act!

Also of note: Hammoudi is cast for another principal role after his own Grownup Nutcracker Prince debut. Speaking of nice feet!

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I think there should be a certain alertness to not giving less tall ballerinas opportunities just because there is a less tall male soloist or male principal who need partners (ie Simkins and Cornejo). That was how ABT ended up with a Reyes who doesn't dance material roles, in many instances, with anybody other than Cornejo and who, in my mind, falls somewhat below the standard for an ABT principal ballerina (although that standard is not met by certain other ABT principal ballerinas as well). If Kajiya, Lane and Riccetto get roles that, absent the height of these ballerinas, would be accorded to other soloists or corp members by merit, then is it right to prioritize finding a partner for short men over the advancement and development of other ballerinas?

Why don't the taller women who might now be losing opportunities get priority and, when they get roles, cause non-short men to be cast next to them? Why the male development focus? Why shouldn't Simkins be given more roles that don't require female pairing per se or that don't involve him being the "lead" danseur (eg Ali the Slave; Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream; )?

Allowing men who can only pair one or two principals or soloists mainly also has detrimental effects on other men in the company, who have to take on more roles with all the non-short ballerinas. Hence, the recent inability of Cornejo to carry the load in the way that Hallberg/Gomes and even Stearns have. Note I am not talking about men who are slightly on the less tall side, like Corella, who can still pair a number of ballerinas. I am talking about cornejo and Simkins.

A related issue is why ballet adheres to the traditions that that male danseur is expected to be taller than the ballerina. Is that something that audiences should reconsider?

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I think there should be a certain alertness to not giving less tall ballerinas opportunities just because there is a less tall male soloist or male principal who need partners (ie Simkins and Cornejo). That was how ABT ended up with a Reyes who doesn't dance material roles, in many instances, with anybody other than Cornejo and who, in my mind, falls somewhat below the standard for an ABT principal ballerina...

My recollection is that Xiomara Reyes was already dancing lead roles when Herman Cornejo was still relegated to supporting roles. (Someone with access to the casting during the mid-2000's can check on this.) Regardless, your points are good ones. For the past decade, one of ABT's perceived selling points has been its male principals. Their strategy may be to build on their strength from within while addressing their weakness with guest performers.

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If Kajiya, Lane and Riccetto get roles that, absent the height of these ballerinas, would be accorded to other soloists or corp members by merit, then is it right to prioritize finding a partner for short men over the advancement and development of other ballerinas? Why don't the taller women who might now be losing opportunities get priority and, when they get roles, cause non-short men to be cast next to them? Why the male development focus?

A related issue is why ballet adheres to the traditions that that male danseur is expected to be taller than the ballerina. Is that something that audiences should reconsider?

I don't think that male development is always the focus: it goes both ways. I would venture to say that Cory Stearns has received certain opportunities because his height allows him to partner some of the more established taller women such as Part and Wiles.

Height is not merely a matter of aesthetics, either. Women grow several inches on pointe (taller girls grow more, as they have bigger feet). Often the male dancer has to hold the female dancer's arm above her head to support her in assisted pirouettes and promenades (I wish I could describe this better, but hopefully you know what I mean). This could be difficult and tends to look really awkward if she is already taller then him on flat ground. (Just imagine someone is taller than you and you have to hold one of their arms over their head while they spin around in front of you.) Also, there are lifts to consider. Gomes can partner anyone, but Simkin, as one can easily see, is somewhat limited as to whom he can hoist over his head.

It does seem unfair: a small ballerina can be partnered by a tall/big guy (like Boylston and Gomes in EHAO or Julie Kent with Roberto Bolle) but generally a tall ballerina doesn't work with a small guy (because of reasons I mentioned). Of course there is some choreography that doesn't call for pointe shoes, or doesn't call for much partnering, where height doesn't matter much. Or even some--Prodigal Son comes to mind--where a taller girl and smaller guy can work to great effect.

I love watching partnerships develop and evolve; it's one of my favorite parts of ballet. I'm not sure if Reyes' was promoted mainly as a partner to Cornejo; I recall that Julio Bocca and Angel Corrella used to partner Reyes fairly regularly as well. (Of course Bocca retired years ago and we see little of Corella these days) She may not be a technical virtuoso like Murphy and others, but I always admire her acting and musicality. I've come to appreciate her more and more over the years, especially her Giselle and Juliet.

Incidentally, if you're interested in a parody of the classical ballet paradigm you should check out the Trockoderos. They love to play on the big ballerina with the small male dancer theme. It's pretty astounding some of the partnering they actually do pull off, but you can clearly see (and get a good chuckle at) the difficulties that arise. They will also provide an answer to your pointework question.

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