miliosr

ABT's Male Principal Problem

Promote From Within or Go On a Spending Spree?   73 members have voted

  1. 1. To solve its looming shortage of male principals, should ABT:

    • Promote from within to fill the ranks
      45
    • Go out into the free market and hire male principals from outside the company
      28

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351 posts in this topic

Jackson is a guest not a principal

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I agree wholeheartedly with every comment, miliosr, and I thank you for putting together such an eye-opening tally. It is depressing isn't it? Given how mgmt is handling this Met Season, I'm going to have my eye on the roster post-season to see if any corps members (and how many) leave. What reason would they have to be optimistic about their future there, when they see how many talented corps and soloist dancers languish for years without a promotion and aren't fully utilized when there are injuries and hence, opportunities? Giving Matthews, Tamm and Gorak more roles to fill in for the injured is terrific, but not good enough.

And, although it pains me to say this, I believe Hallberg should only be a guest artist at this point. It's clear that his loyalty is to the Bolshoi (and to doing guest appearances worldwide with other companies) and not to ABT. That's wonderful for him personally (I really mean that) but I can't help but think that his principal status is preventing someone else from getting promoted (like Matthews). Doing 7 performances in a year is a guest artist's schedule.

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I agree wholeheartedly with every comment, miliosr, and I thank you for putting together such an eye-opening tally. It is depressing isn't it? Given how mgmt is handling this Met Season, I'm going to have my eye on the roster post-season to see if any corps members (and how many) leave. What reason would they have to be optimistic about their future there, when they see how many talented corps and soloist dancers languish for years without a promotion and aren't fully utilized when there are injuries and hence, opportunities? Giving Matthews, Tamm and Gorak more roles to fill in for the injured is terrific, but not good enough.

And, although it pains me to say this, I believe Hallberg should only be a guest artist at this point. It's clear that his loyalty is to the Bolshoi (and to doing guest appearances worldwide with other companies) and not to ABT. That's wonderful for him personally (I really mean that) but I can't help but think that his principal status is preventing someone else from getting promoted (like Matthews). Doing 7 performances in a year is a guest artist's schedule.

How are the principal dancers paid? Is it based on the performances they do for the season? If so,Marcelo should be the highest paid dancer based on the number of his performances.

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According to abatt in a different thread on ABT salaries, the dancers' salaries are based on a combination of seniority and level in the company (principal/soloist/corps), and they are operating under union contract. As a result, the two highest salaried principals (of either gender) are Paloma Herrera and Julie Kent. I believe that Marcelo Gomes is the highest-paid male dancer.

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Jackson is a guest not a principal

Corrected

Given how mgmt is handling this Met Season, I'm going to have my eye on the roster post-season to see if any corps members (and how many) leave. What reason would they have to be optimistic about their future there, when they see how many talented corps and soloist dancers languish for years without a promotion and aren't fully utilized when there are injuries and hence, opportunities?

I've been concerned about this ever since Isaac Stappas didn't reach the soloist level. Ten years ago, his career was flourishing . . . and then it wasn't. No surprise, then, to hear several years ago that he was leaving ABT to pursue his studies.

I, too, am curious to see if more corps guys leave after the Met season. Last year was a bad one for ABT in that it lost Roddy Doble (to Boston) and Joe Phillips (to Vladivostock). Phillips' decision raised eyebrows (due to the location) but I think he was smart. He could count where he was in the promotion hierarchy (at a minimum, behind Tom Forster and Joey Gorak) and decamped to someplace where he could actually dance principal roles.

There's a whole raft of corps guys who joined ABT in 2004 -- Alexei Agoudine, Grant Delong, Blaine Hoven, Luis Ribagorda, Arron Scott and Roman Zhurbin. Ribagorda will stay because of his wife, Sarah Lane, Scott is in line to replace Craig Salstein if Salstein chooses to retire so he has reason to stay, and Zhurbin has a thriving career at ABT as one of the finest actor-dancers in New York. (I just wish they would name him principal character actor.) But the other three might want to consider their options because I don't know what's left for them at ABT.

Giving Matthews, Tamm and Gorak more roles to fill in for the injured is terrific, but not good enough.
If I were Matthews and Tamm, who picked up performances because of the Stearns and Matvienko situations, it would not be unreasonable to ask, "If I'm good enough to sub, why aren't I good enough to get these performances in the first place?" And if the response is, "Well, we need big names to fill the Met", then the immediate and obvious retort should be, "Then why are you bringing in guys from Australia and Ukraine who people have barely heard of?"
And, although it pains me to say this, I believe Hallberg should only be a guest artist at this point. It's clear that his loyalty is to the Bolshoi (and to doing guest appearances worldwide with other companies) and not to ABT. That's wonderful for him personally (I really mean that) but I can't help but think that his principal status is preventing someone else from getting promoted (like Matthews). Doing 7 performances in a year is a guest artist's schedule.
In the absence of the Stearns injury and the Matvienko withdrawal, Hallberg was actually scheduled to do fewer performances. He was closer to Bolle in that regard. So, he is, along with Bolle and Vasiliev, very much a guest artist/part-time principal.

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I think when additional casting is announced, Simkin will probably be listed for Puck, which is a lead role. (Probably also Salstein, and maybe Cornejo too) The numbers above may have to be adjusted.

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Anyone see the news?

Jared Matthews is leaving for Houston ballet at the end of the Met season.

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Anyone see the news?

Jared Matthews is leaving for Houston ballet at the end of the Met season.

We have a couple of other threads going on this. Yuriko Kajiya is also going to Houston.

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Anyone see the news?

Jared Matthews is leaving for Houston ballet at the end of the Met season.

We have a couple of other threads going on this. Yuriko Kajiya is also going to Houston.

Yeah, I saw your post in the other thread. Sorry, don't leave the ABT forum all that often, so didn't see it over there. Didn't mention Kajiya here as its a thread about the male principals at ABT.

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And now the other shoe drops. With Matthews and Radetsky both leaving at the end of the Met season, ABT will be left with a decimated soloist contingent consisting of Craig Salstein and oft-injured Alexandre Hammoudi.

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And now the other shoe drops. With Matthews and Radetsky both leaving at the end of the Met season, ABT will be left with a decimated soloist contingent consisting of Craig Salstein and oft-injured Alexandre Hammoudi.

Perhaps some deserving corps members will finally get promotions!

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And now the other shoe drops. With Matthews and Radetsky both leaving at the end of the Met season, ABT will be left with a decimated soloist contingent consisting of Craig Salstein and oft-injured Alexandre Hammoudi.

Now i dread any tweets from Pointe Magazine...speechless-smiley-003.gif

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Maybe Joseph Phillips can return from Vladivostok?

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I can see why a move to another country might not appeal to a dancer with roots in his country, and/or why ABT might not be considered higher on the food chain than, for example, the Bolshoi or Mariinsky or NYCB, and/or why a dancer would be happier in a company where he would retire with a full pension, and/or why a dancer might want to live in Europe. However, there are many, many beautiful male ballet dancers for whom living in NY and dancing for ABT would be a plus. From what I've read here and seen sporadically over the last decade, some of them are even dancing with ABT now.

From the outside looking in, the state, management, and development of dancers at ABT -- male and female -- is not making the ABT administration look competent or very bright.

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From the outside looking in, the state, management, and development of dancers at ABT -- male and female -- is not making the ABT administration look competent or very bright.

I totally agree, Helene. The only thing I would add is that what you say is an understatement.

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From the outside looking in, the state, management, and development of dancers at ABT -- male and female -- is not making the ABT administration look competent or very bright.

I totally agree, Helene. The only thing I would add is that what you say is an understatement.

How long has KM been the artistic director of ABT? Maybe, it's time for a change?

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From the outside looking in, the state, management, and development of dancers at ABT -- male and female -- is not making the ABT administration look competent or very bright.

I totally agree, Helene. The only thing I would add is that what you say is an understatement.

How long has KM been the artistic director of ABT? Maybe, it's time for a change?

Since 1992. I think most people would agree it's time for a change.

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How long has KM been the artistic director of ABT? Maybe, it's time for a change?

Since 1992. I think most people would agree it's time for a change.

Unfortunately, it's probably going to have to get even worse before it will get better.

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From the outside looking in, the state, management, and development of dancers at ABT -- male and female -- is not making the ABT administration look competent or very bright.

I totally agree, Helene. The only thing I would add is that what you say is an understatement.

How long has KM been the artistic director of ABT? Maybe, it's time for a change?

KM has been the AD of ABT since 1992. His 20th anniversary was celebrated in--must have been 2012. For many years now people have been saying that it's time for a change, as more and more very fine dancers have become mired in the "soloist graveyard," and dancers with foreign names and credentials have been recruited as guest artists for roles in which the home team soloists (e.g., Stella Abrera, Sarah Lane, to name two) could have been given the opportunity to show what they can do in principal roles and hopefully rise in the ranks. That would have opened up soloist spots for promotions from the corps de ballet.

I'm not against inviting a guest artist or two, but ABT has been relying on guest artists for too many performances, while members of the audience such as myself have been hoping against hope for promotions from within of some of our most beloved dancers whose careers have been stalled. ABT has been digging its own grave for a long time. The departure of Kajiya and Matthews is a huge blot on the history of ABT's recent artistic direction.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't ABT significantly in the red when McKenzie took over in 1992 from Misha. From the standpoint of moving the company from red ink into black ink, he has been successful. The artistic side is another matter entirely. Yes, I agree he has let a lot of talent waste away there. However, I also note that one artisitic coup was hiring Ratmansky.

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Not surprised. I'd be tired too of being in a company that constantly hires mediocre "Exchange" or "Guest Artists" dancing principal roles while I, a better dancer, am stuck doing a pas de trois or posing in the background. I've seen some of those Exchange and Guest Artists dancing and they aren't that great. Yet McKenzie will put them in a principal role before members of his own company. And half of them aren't box office draws like Tereshkina so I'm confused on why they are given chances above ABT own dancers.

Well, I live in Houston and Houstonians as well as Houston Ballet's AD will appreciate Jared and Yuriko. I think it says it all that they'd rather go to a different company with the same rank, than continue to stay at ABT.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't ABT significantly in the red when McKenzie took over in 1992 from Misha. From the standpoint of moving the company from red ink into black ink, he has been successful. The artistic side is another matter entirely. Yes, I agree he has let a lot of talent waste away there. However, I also note that one artisitic coup was hiring Ratmansky.

And I believe that Ratmansky has been very supportive of ABT's home-grown dancers, casting them in his ballets. I don't think that most of the guest artists have been brought in at his behest.

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Well, I live in Houston and Houstonians as well as Houston Ballet's AD will appreciate Jared and Yuriko. I think it says it all that they'd rather go to a different company with the same rank, than continue to stay at ABT.

A few more details from Broadway World help explain the move. Matthews was born and raised in Houston. They have both worked with the current director, Stanton Welch, when he choreographed for them at ABT some years ago. So Houston makes sense for them, not just as a way to escape ABT.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/Houston-Ballet-Announces-First-Soloists-for-2014-15-Season-Jared-Matthews-and-Yuriko-Kajiya-20140507#.U2qLMfFOXIU

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Responding to the comment above about Ratmansky using ABT's home grown artists:

Frankly, I think part of the reason Osipova and Vasliev decided to join ABT had a lot to do with Ratmansky. He was their champion when he was artistic director of the Bolshoi, and he promoted them to principal there. Ratmansky gave the lead role in Firebird to Osipova (with Misty in second cast). He also carved out leading roles for them in the Trilogy last season. Obviously, those ties ultimately were not strong enough to prevent Osipova from leaving ABT for the Royal. We'll see what Vasiliev's future plans are.

Also, the incredible period when Ferri, Ananiashvilli, Vishneva, Corella, Carreno, Bocca, Steifel and others appeared nightly on the Met stage was under McKenzie's leadership. None were "home grown" at ABT, but those were spectacular years when ABT was the envy of every ballet company.

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Responding to the comment above about Ratmansky using ABT's home grown artists:

Frankly, I think part of the reason Osipova and Vasliev decided to join ABT had a lot to do with Ratmansky. He was their champion when he was artistic director of the Bolshoi, and he promoted them to principal there. Ratmansky gave the lead role in Firebird to Osipova (with Misty in second cast). He also carved out leading roles for them in the Trilogy last season. Obviously, those ties ultimately were not strong enough to prevent Osipova from leaving ABT for the Royal. We'll see what Vasiliev's future plans are.

Also, the incredible period when Ferri, Ananiashvilli, Vishneva, Corella, Carreno, Bocca, Steifel and others appeared nightly on the Met stage was under McKenzie's leadership. None were "home grown" at ABT, but those were spectacular years when ABT was the envy of every ballet company.

I don't think that period will happen again as there are very few really great dancers anymore. Even the present rosters of the Kirov, Bolshoi,RB does not have many dancers that are "must be seen" IMHO. We were really spoiled by that period and the period in the 70's.

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