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

Well...he's been in the corps for 11 yrs, that could be contributing to his decision to move on. It's a huge loss, imo, to ABT. He and Roman Zhurbin are among the finest character dancers in the company, and should both be soloists, even if they would never be cast the "leading" man--they have proven indispensable to ABT's story ballet rep. ABT already lost their go-to female character dancer, the always divine Maria Bystrova, earlier this year-another big shame.

I am hoping to catch a last glimpse of him in LA before he departs; does anyone know what/if he's be dancing in the Bright Stream?

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This is why I am an afficiondo of NYCB. They develop their dancers from within, they spot their stars in the corps and promote them until they are true star material. The corps is dancing every night, the soloists have many chances to shine in the repertoire. One can follow a dancer from apprenticeship to principal, watch their development. How can a soloist be promoted in ABT when the plum principal roles are mostly reserved for foreign guest artists? NYCB has a system, and it's a system od promotion from within. It has produced recently Wendi Whelan, Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns,and many men who will no doubt take their places as principals.

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NYCB has a system, and it's a system od promotion from within. It has produced recently Wendi Whelan, Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns,and many men who will no doubt take their places as principals.
Not to mention Charles Askegard, Joaquin DeLuz, Sofiane Sylve, Ib Andersen, Ask La Cour, Nikolaj Hubbe, and oh, yes, Peter Martins!

On the other hand, one could enjoy watching the developoment of ABT's home-grown Herman Cornejo, Cory Stearns, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes, Julie Kent, Paloma Hererra, and others who are clearly moving up the ranks.

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NYCB has a system, and it's a system od promotion from within. It has produced recently Wendi Whelan, Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns,and many men who will no doubt take their places as principals.
Not to mention Charles Askegard, Joaquin DeLuz, Sofiane Sylve, Ib Andersen, Ask La Cour, Nikolaj Hubbe, and oh, yes, Peter Martins!

On the other hand, one could enjoy watching the developoment of ABT's home-grown Herman Cornejo, Cory Stearns, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes, Julie Kent, Paloma Hererra, and others who are clearly moving up the ranks.

I agree to a point, however Murphy & Hererra had such technical prowess that they almost had to be promoted. Wiles, in my opinions fell into that category but failed to develop artistically. The same could be said of the male dancer side.

I think the big difference is that the rep of NYCB allows for a more natural development through difficult corps parts, to demi soloists, to solos to principal roles.

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Right - NYCB's rep has so many more opportunities to stand out from the corps.

Not so with ABT - if someone in the corps is truly exceptional, we may not see it.

Impossible there's no unpolished diamonds there now, yet no promotions other

than Boylston have been announced.

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NYCB has a system, and it's a system od promotion from within. It has produced recently Wendi Whelan, Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns,and many men who will no doubt take their places as principals.
Not to mention Charles Askegard, Joaquin DeLuz, Sofiane Sylve, Ib Andersen, Ask La Cour, Nikolaj Hubbe, and oh, yes, Peter Martins!

On the other hand, one could enjoy watching the developoment of ABT's home-grown Herman Cornejo, Cory Stearns, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes, Julie Kent, Paloma Hererra, and others who are clearly moving up the ranks.

And David Hallberg...

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NYCB has a system, and it's a system od promotion from within. It has produced recently Wendi Whelan, Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns,and many men who will no doubt take their places as principals.
Not to mention Charles Askegard, Joaquin DeLuz, Sofiane Sylve, Ib Andersen, Ask La Cour, Nikolaj Hubbe, and oh, yes, Peter Martins!

On the other hand, one could enjoy watching the developoment of ABT's home-grown Herman Cornejo, Cory Stearns, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes, Julie Kent, Paloma Hererra, and others who are clearly moving up the ranks.

Didn't Joaquin De Luz rise up through the ranks of ABT before switching to NYCB?

De Luz and Cornejo were often cast on alternate nights in the same roles at ABT.

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Didn't Joaquin De Luz rise up through the ranks of ABT before switching to NYCB?
DeLuz entered ABT corps from Pennsylvania Ballet, which is why I didn't consider him home-grown, in the sense of those I mentioned above who at least came through ABT's junior company. He already had experience as a professional by the time he arrived at ABT.

It's very true about the nature of ABT's rep vs. NYCB's giving dancers opportunities. And that won't change as long as ABT continues to shorten its more interesting fall programming at City Center. Well, it's now down to a single week. Not likely :beg: to get much shorter than that!

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Didn't Joaquin De Luz rise up through the ranks of ABT before switching to NYCB?
DeLuz entered ABT corps from Pennsylvania Ballet, which is why I didn't consider him home-grown, in the sense of those I mentioned above who at least came through ABT's junior company. He already had experience as a professional by the time he arrived at ABT.

It's very true about the nature of ABT's rep vs. NYCB's giving dancers opportunities. And that won't change as long as ABT continues to shorten its more interesting fall programming at City Center. Well, it's now down to a single week. Not likely :beg: to get much shorter than that!

I'm wondering (hoping?) if the single work isn't a function of the City Center renovation schedule. The grand re-opening of the main auditorium is scheduled for October 25, 2011 so it may be that a week was all they could get.

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Didn't Joaquin De Luz rise up through the ranks of ABT before switching to NYCB?

He rose to soloist at ABT where he spent five years at that level, then switched to NYCB as a soloist spending two years abouts as a soloist before finally being promoted to principal. He's probably have been promoted to principal far quicker had he not been only three feet tall, or thereabouts.

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They develop their dancers from within, they spot their stars in the corps and promote them until they are true star material. One can follow a dancer from apprenticeship to principal, watch their development. NYCB has a system, and it's a system of promotion from within.

Really? The "pure" system you describe sure wasn't in evidence at the performance of Jewels I saw in June. Of the five "leading men" I saw on stage -- Charles Askegard (principal), Gonzalo Garcia (principal), Anthony Huxley (soloist), Ask La Cour (soloist) and Sebastien Marcovici (principal) -- only Huxley truly meets the description of school-to-apprentice-to-corps-to-soloist-to-principal. (Obviously, Huxley isn't a principal yet.) Let's take the other four one-by-one:

Askegard spent one summer at the School of American Ballet and spent the first ten years of his career as a corps member/soloist at ABT. He joined NYCB as a soloist and became a principal the following year.

Garcia was a product of the San Francisco Ballet: school to corps (1998) to soloist (2000) to principal (2002). He joined NYCB as a principal in 2007.

La Cour was a graduate of the Royal Danish Ballet school and became a corps member at that company in 2000. He moved to NYCB as a corps member in 2002 and became a soloist in 2005.

Apart from Huxley, only Marcovici comes close to the "ideal" as he went from corps (1993) to soloist (1998) to principal (2002). But did he spend any time at all at the school? His bio mentions the Paris Opera Ballet school but is completely silent about attending the School of American Ballet.

The point I'm making here is that the City Ballet system isn't as "pure" as it looks at first glance (at least on the men's side.) Management at City Ballet is just as willing as management elsewhere to bring in outside talent when they realize their school has produced a crop of duds.

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Management at City Ballet is just as willing as management elsewhere to bring in outside talent when they realize their school has produced a crop of duds.

I'd hardly say crop of duds – I think it was Croce who said something like they all look great at the school, but something happens when they get into the company. There are probably all sorts of reasons for promotions and non-promotions. Matching of patners, who gets along with who, who takes to particular choreography easily. Perhaps sometimes the most brilliant dancers don't really fit it, while the less exciting "troupers" do.

I'll agree they do somewhat come in batches and from this place one decade or that place another. There are dry spells and then another interesting group comes forward. But it's not commodity production, ant the reasons for variation are subtle.

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If Vadim Muntagirov has any interest in decamping to New York, his price just got a whole lot higher:

http://balletnews.co.uk/english-national-ballet-announces-promotions/

Miliosr

He is so good, he really is the schizz. If you're ever in the UK he's definitely worth the ticket price to see him. English National Ballet are in a bit of sticky predicament at the moment, last year they had their funding cut by 7%, then this year it was announced they were to receive a further 15% cut and sadly it seems that those cuts are going to impact increasingly on dancers, they know that Muntagirov is their prize draw and that he's really revitalised a lot of public interest in ENB especially after the documentary on ENB which focused a great deal on him. This promotion aside I really can't see him staying with ENB for much longer he could pretty much go wherever he wanted now.

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If Vadim Muntagirov has any interest in decamping to New York, his price just got a whole lot higher:

http://balletnews.co.uk/english-national-ballet-announces-promotions/

Miliosr

He is so good, he really is the schizz. If you're ever in the UK he's definitely worth the ticket price to see him. English National Ballet are in a bit of sticky predicament at the moment, last year they had their funding cut by 7%, then this year it was announced they were to receive a further 15% cut and sadly it seems that those cuts are going to impact increasingly on dancers, they know that Muntagirov is their prize draw and that he's really revitalised a lot of public interest in ENB especially after the documentary on ENB which focused a great deal on him. This promotion aside I really can't see him staying with ENB for much longer he could pretty much go wherever he wanted now.

And he's young. If he stays injury-free, a company could get 20+ years out of him.

I can't see him staying much longer with ENB either especially when you look at the company's rep for 2011-12. Touring Strictly Gershwin around England in the Fall and then again in the Winter, the Nutcracker around Christmas and a Ballet Russes bill in the Spring. Boring!!!!! I don't think that's going to be enough to hold him if Kevin McKenzie comes calling with lots of dollars and the opportunity to dance at the Met in hand. It's unfortunate in the extreme for Wayne Eagling -- the government's budget cuts will likely cost him one of the most promising dancers of this generation.

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ENB has been a stepping stone for many dancers we've grown to love: it's like a New York Yankees AAA club, where so many dancers are as good as anyone dancing in the larger companies throughout the world, but there's no room.

One of the things that strikes me most about the discussion of "home-grown" vs. "store-bought" is that thinking about whom ABT might "acquire": it's like a fantasy sports league, where by choosing all of the dancers we'd like to see, we can create an All Star Team and not have to travel to see them :)

Looking at a NYCB souvenir book from the early '80's,

Principal Men:

Ib Andersen

Bart Cook

Lindsay Fischer

Peter Frame -- now doing weight training for SAB's 2011 summer session

Leonid Koslov

Robert La Fosse

Sean Lavery -- studied at SAB for a year after dancing with SFB and Frankfurt Opera Ballet

Adam Luders

Jock Soto

I don't know about Lindsay Fischer's training, but, at most, 1/3 of the male principals were SAB-trained (Soto and Frame, possibly Fischer), and Lavery's foundational training was at School of Pennsylvania Ballet and with Richard Thomas and Barbara Fallis.

compared to the Principal Women:

Merrill Ashley

Suzanne Farrell

Judith Fugate

Darci Kistler

Maria Calegari

Valentina Kozlova -- hired as a Principal from Bolshoi Ballet

Lourdes Lopez

Patricia McBride

Kyra Nichols

Stephanie Saland

Heather Watts

Only Kozlova wasn't home-grown. The soloists were more evenly distributed among the men -- Boal, Aromaa, Frohlich, Castelli, Merlo, Horiuchi, Houston, Neubert, O'Brien, David Otto -- and unless I'm mistaken, exclusively SAB-trained among the women -- Caddell, Alexopoulos, Hauser, Hlinka, Melinda Roy, White.

Compared to today's roster, at least eight of the male principals were trained at SAB -- the Angles, Fairchild, Millipied, Ramasar, Stafford, Ulbricht, Veyette. Only four of the male principals -- Askegard (SAB summer session, so known to NYCB), de Luz, Garcia, and Marcovici -- were trained all or mostly outside of SAB and/or danced elsewhere before joining the company, which is quite a change, although RDB-trained Nikolai Hubbe and Nilas Martins were on the roster until relatively recently. All but one (La Cour) of the NYCB soloist men were trained at SAB.

ETA: As long as we're suggesting possibilities for recruitment, please, some company in North America hire Thomas Lund as a guest...

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Victor Castelli was not trained at SAB. He trained at the School of the Garden State Ballet with Fred Danieli, as did Marjorie Spohn and Christine Redpath, although Chrissy was with A. Dolinoff in Montclair, NJ prior to her 4 or 5 years at GSB. I know she began at GSB at age 13. Victor began ballet late. I remember him in class at GSB at 12 or 13. He was a jazz dancer and maybe a tapper too before ballet. He attended SAB on a Ford Foundation Scholarship in the summer for 2 years in high school and was taken into NYCB upon his graduation from high school. Christine was at SAB for 1 summer and 6 months (I believe, :blushing: it was years ago) but then was accepted into NYCB within her 1st full year at SAB. Spohn went into NYCB after her graduation from high school.

Daniel Ulbricht was trained in St. Petersburg, FL at the Judith Lee Johnson School of Dance with Svetlana Osiyeva and Amy Rhoda. He came from a very good background in ballet prior to attending SAB full time at age 15 or 16. He attended a few summer programs at SAB. He came to ballet from a Karate background prior to his ballet training in Florida.

Edited by vrsfanatic

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Thank you for the info on Castelli, one of my all-time favorite dancers at NYCB. He was from the transitional generation of the Ford Foundation era, forty or so years ago. How time flies...

Very few Principals and Soloists started in the school before pre-professional division kicked in -- Boal, Fugate, and Somogyi are the ones I can think of off the top of my head -- and not all of the NYCB dancers trained at SAB started in their early teens on the professional track. I should have been clearer with "exclusively SAB-trained", by which I meant their last years of training were at SAB, and they were taken into the company from SAB. Many, like Ulbricht, started in their mid-teens, but were still school-trained. I make the distinction between full-time study, and those, like Askegard, who went to a summer session, but never attended the school full time, and Sean Lavery, who didn't attend the school until after he danced professionally and came from Principal Dancer status at Frankfurt Opera Ballet.

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What are the percentages of "home-grown" at principal and soloist levels at POB, RDB, Bolshoi, and Mariinsky? I assume it's close to 100% at POB, Bolshoi & Mariinsky; while RB is somewhere in between ABT & NYCB.

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ABT is the only company for whom "home grown" does not, at least yet, include coming from the school, which is still too new to have an impact. Part of the answer depends on whether the dancer needs to be part of ABT II or whether starting in the corps counts.

For the Royal Ballet, whether they studied in the school:

Principals:

Acosta-no

Benjamin-yes

Bonelli-no

Cojocaru--studied six months at the school from a Prix de Lausanne scholarship prize

Cuthbertson-spent nearly seven years at the school

Galeazzi-no

Kish-no

Kobborg-no

Lamb-no

Makhateli-no

Marquez-no

McRae-yes, one year at the school

Morera-yes

Nunez-no ETA: "yes" (see below)

Pennefather-yes

Polunin-yes

Rojo-no

Soares-yes ETA "no" (see below)

Watson-yes

Yanowsky-no

First Soloists:

Cervera-yes

Chapman-no

Choe-no

Crawford-yes

Gartside-yes

Hristov-no

Kobayashi-no

Martin-no

Mendizabal-no

Stepanek-no

The Bolshoi has foreign students in the school -- Julian and Nicholas MacKay are two of them -- but I don't know if there's a rule or policy about whether they can be accepted into the company, and they still are too young to be chosen, if this is possible. I haven't read anything to show that the same is true at the Mariinsky. I know Paris Opera Ballet has competitions for dancers not trained at their school, and I don't know the policies of either the Vaganova Institute or Paris Opera Ballet School about accepting students in addition to the kids they choose at eight for the sole purpose of making them into professional dancers, which is not the case for any of the company-affiliated schools in the US, which accept local students early and then select most of their professional division students much later.

According to the Paris Opera Ballet website, "Practically all the dancers are trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School."

All of the Etoiles attended the school. Only two of the Premiers Danseurs, Alessio Carbone, who came from Milan, and Ludmila Pagliero, who came from Ballet de Santiago did not attend the school. There are no bios for Sujets and below on the site.

http://www.operadeparis.fr/cns11/live/onp/L_Opera/le_Ballet/le_Ballet_de_lOpera/index.php?lang=en

The majority of Etoiles and Premiers Danseurs studied at the school for 5-7 years, joining the school between 9-11 and either being asked to join the corps or auditioned successfully for the corps between the ages of 15-18. Several of them studied at the school for one year before being accepted -- Clairmarie Osta, Jose Martinez, and Laetitia Pujol -- and a few for two years -- Mathieu Ganio, Isabella Ciaravola, and Nowwenn Daniel.

For the Mariinsky, three of the Principal Dancers did not study at the Vaganova Academy: Igor Kolb (Byelorusian State Ballet School), Daniil Korsuntsev (Uzbek School of Ballet), and Denis Matvienko (Kiev State School of Dance). Both Irma Niradze and Igor Zelensky studied at the Tbisili School of Ballet before studying at the Vaganova Academ. No other Principal Dancers or any of the First Soloists have any other school listed in their bios. Of the Second Soloists, Nadezhda Gonchar (Kiev State School of Dance), Maria Shirinkina (Perm State School of Dance), Andrei Ivanov (Byelorussian State School of Dance), and Timur Askerov (Baku School of Dance) were trained outside the Vaganova Academy.

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/ballet/troupe/

At the Bolshoi, six of the 19 Principals studied outside the Moscow State Choreographic Academy: Nikolai Tsiskaridze (Tbisili Ballet School), Anna Antonicheva (Baku Ballet School), Ivan Vasiliev (Belorussian State Choreographic College), Mikhail Lobukhin (Vaganova Academy), Nadezhda Gracheva (Alma-Ata Ballet School), and Svetlana Zakharova, who studied at the Kiev Choreographic School before being "finished" at the Vaganova Academy. Three of the nine Leading Soloists studied outside Moscow: Yelena Andrienko (Kiev Ballet School), Andrei Merkuriev (Ulfa Ballet School), and Yekateriana Shipulina (Perm Choreographic College). There are only a couple of bios of First Soloists and Soloists.

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/theatre/ballet_troupe/soloists/

The Mariinsky and Bolshoi have promoted dancers that were not trained in Moscow, but all of them were trained in schools that had been part of the former Soviet Union training system.

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I know it is off topic, but it is interesting to note that the Bolshoi has announced open auditions for the company. This was a huge shock when I heard. Of course it isn't a given that they will accept anyone into the ranks outside of the Eastern European schools, or if they did what it would mean down the line for their 'style'. A dancer must be preselected to audition, but does anyone else remember a time that they have held outside auditions?

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Nunez studied at RBS for a year.

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Nunez studied at RBS for a year.

Thank you for the correction; I didn't read far enough to see that she did the Graduate Course at the school.

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As far as I know Soares was never at the Royal Ballet School. Nunez did a year there because at 15 she was too young to join the company under UK labour law. She had been a soloist at the Colon for a year before coming to the UK.

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