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

I haven't seen Golding live or Polunin on video -- Emerging Pictures isn't showing the Royal Ballet in Vancouver, only the Bolshoi -- so it's hard for me to compare stage presence. From the video, I wasn't wowed by Golding's stage presence as much as pure technique in the Hallberg mold, and Basilio is not a princely role, but he did lots of virtuoso things without breaking any form or line or the big "Ta-da, look at the pirouettes I just did!!!!!", which is usually a good indication of being a good prince.

I know there was recent news about budget cuts in the Netherlands, but I don't see what ABT would have to offer Golding that he's not getting in Europe, unless he wants to be in NYC.

I can't believe they let him get away in the first place.

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Can't really comment on my choice, but let us PLEASE give mention to one of my favorites, Roman Z, when we are bringing up the Character Dancer category. Even though his hard work and tremendous talent maybe won't land him at the Principal's table, He is a vital part of their program, and I too think there should be some sort of promotion possibilities when considering, the many "solo" character parts he so brilliantly plays!

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Are there any candidates in American, Canadian or Australian companies that should be on this list?

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How about promoting both Stella and Sascha to principal status, using Sascha as the utility/fill in dancer? I've also been impressed with Roddy Doble over the last few years and feel he should certainly be promoted to soloist. He's got the virility and appears tall on stage and I feel could do much more than he is given. On the issue of height. Tamm, who I like a lot, did not appear that tall when I saw him fill in for Hallberg in Nutcracker last Dec. Maybe I just had the vision of the leaner musculature of Hallberg in my mind.

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Meant to also say I'm very much in favor of creating a principal character level and fill it immediately with Roman (!!!), Craig, and Julio. Maybe there are apprentices that would aspire to this category if they are not leading man types.

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I like the idea of both developing male dancers from within, but since this takes a while hire from outside as well. ABT has always done this - haven't they? Bujones joined ABT as a corps dancer, Barysnikov was hired as a principal after his defection from the Kirov. Gomes and Hallberg started in the corps, but Carreno and Stiefel were hired from other companies (Carreno from the Royal Ballet, Stiefel from NYCB.) I'm not sure about Julio Bocca - wasn't he hired as a principal? Many posters have mentioned excellent candidates for ABT to hire from the outside, but with regard to within the company in my opinion there are not too many choices. I really don't like Jared Matthews as a dancer and performer. I just don't think his technique is consistently good and he is very bland. Sascha Radetsky is also inconsistent and he's certainly no kid. I would love to see Eric Tamm groomed to be a principal at ABT. He doesn't get many opportunities, but when he does he makes full use of them. As already stated, Savliev doesn't have much personality and he's got to be close to 40. His technique seems to be declining in the last couple of years. I haven't seen Gorak often enough to consider him. I think Joseph Phillips is worth a shot. And I really love Daniil Simkin. Who cares how young he looks? I really don't see why that is a big deal. And as for size, I don't think it matters as long as there are ballerinas short enough to be partnered with him (of course that is a problem. Maybe ABT should groom some petite female dancers to solve this problem.) And I don't think Simkin always dances like he's performing at a gala. I think he's a very good actor. I saw him as Basilio in Don Q last year and he was great!! He's very good as Benovlio (is that how you spell the name) in Romeo and Juliet, but I think Simkin would be just perfect as Mercutio. It's very sad, isn't it, how ABT went from having such a surfeit of wonderful male dancers that dancers like Parrish Maynard and Carlos Lopez (and I'm sure others, I just can't remember who off hand) felt they had to leave ABT and now ABT is short of male dancers. Let's hope Kevin McKenzie is working on this problem.

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Can't really comment on my choice, but let us PLEASE give mention to one of my favorites, Roman Z, when we are bringing up the Character Dancer category. Even though his hard work and tremendous talent maybe won't land him at the Principal's table, He is a vital part of their program, and I too think there should be some sort of promotion possibilities when considering, the many "solo" character parts he so brilliantly plays!

There is a precedent for this. I don't think William Carter or Terry Orr ever danced a prince role between the two of them, but their talent and contributions were considered worthy of principle status.

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Guillaume Cote (National Ballet of Canada) has guested with ABT in the past, so if I were looking for someone I would at least consider him. Toronto audiences love him.

http://national.ball...C%C3%B4t%C3%A9/

I love Cote and his wife, Heather Ogden, but the NBoC season runs November-June, and this year they have two programs and their big gala running in June.

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Can't really comment on my choice, but let us PLEASE give mention to one of my favorites, Roman Z, when we are bringing up the Character Dancer category. Even though his hard work and tremendous talent maybe won't land him at the Principal's table, He is a vital part of their program, and I too think there should be some sort of promotion possibilities when considering, the many "solo" character parts he so brilliantly plays!

There is a precedent for this. I don't think William Carter or Terry Orr ever danced a prince role between the two of them, but their talent and contributions were considered worthy of principle status.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but Marcos Paredes was also a principal although he did mostly character roles.

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I thought Alexandre H. did very well in the couple of principal roles(Nutcracker and Bright Stream) i saw him danced but he has not been given a major classical role to do(Solor? Siegfred?) Gray D. has the height,looks, technique and stamina.OC friends has reported that he did several performances of Thirteen Diversions(covering for injuries) sensationally. Aaron S. is a terrific dancer but is more of a Herman Cornejo-type .I have not seen Thomas F. in a major role but has the height and appearance.

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Are there any candidates in American, Canadian or Australian companies that should be on this list?

Z Konvalina, also of ENB, would do well in the ABT repertoire.

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Yes I agree Bingham. Don't know how possible it would be to stay with ENB, guest at NBOC and dance with ABT as well, but sure would be exciting for him! Personally I would prefer Cote over Konvalina. smile.png

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On my list of dancers I'd be trying to lure if I was ABT.... Evan Mc Kie and Jason Reilly, Stuttgart Ballet. Have seen them both perform here in Canada and enjoyed them both immensely.

An American dancer I've really enjoyed is Brooklyn Mack.

Unfortunately, ABT isn't calling to ask my opinion...

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It's perhaps a bit naughty of me to suggest this, but after Corella has left, and the air is cleared, might his ex-brother-in-law (and I do mean ex) Joaquin De Luz be lured back to ABT? At NYCB he usually dances the sort of virtuoso, romantic repertoire that fits in much more naturally at ABT, and the NYCB audiences go wild for him. It was so nice to see him back at ABT last year guesting as Benno in Carreno's farewell Swan Lake.

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I like the idea of both developing male dancers from within, but since this takes a while hire from outside as well. ABT has always done this - haven't they? Bujones joined ABT as a corps dancer, Barysnikov was hired as a principal after his defection from the Kirov. Gomes and Hallberg started in the corps, but Carreno and Stiefel were hired from other companies (Carreno from the Royal Ballet, Stiefel from NYCB.) I'm not sure about Julio Bocca - wasn't he hired as a principal?

And I really love Daniil Simkin. Who cares how young he looks? I really don't see why that is a big deal. And as for size, I don't think it matters as long as there are ballerinas short enough to be partnered with him (of course that is a problem. Maybe ABT should groom some petite female dancers to solve this problem.) And I don't think Simkin always dances like he's performing at a gala. I think he's a very good actor. I saw him as Basilio in Don Q last year and he was great!! He's very good as Benovlio (is that how you spell the name) in Romeo and Juliet, but I think Simkin would be just perfect as Mercutio. It's very sad, isn't it, how ABT went from having such a surfeit of wonderful male dancers that dancers like Parrish Maynard and Carlos Lopez (and I'm sure others, I just can't remember who off hand) felt they had to leave ABT and now ABT is short of male dancers. Let's hope Kevin McKenzie is working on this problem.

I'm with you on hiring principals form outside the company -- b/c it immediate solves the problem, but it just seems the timing isn't really right for so many of the names that have been brought up...and a part of me thinks that Kevin McKenzie's directing of the company has been a bit all over the place that it'd be hard to lure another dancer away from their current company. I think it's most interesting to compare ABT to NYCB in that NYCB has no shortage of dancers (at any rank) b/c their school trains and puts out dancers that are "cookie cutter-ed" for the company...where as I'm getting the distinct impression that JKO doesn't really do that...there are a LOT of talented students but not all of them are cut out for ABT so they end up elsewhere. I'm curious to know, which ABT dancer who is NOT in the corps is really truly ABT home-grown?

in regards to your opinion about promoting Simkin, I'm on board. He's rarely disappointed, and you can tell he's a hard worker who really love what he does. He's a great dancer and performer, and he's partnered a handful of women in the company so I'm sure he's got his own way of dealing with his size/height issues...the only problem is that promoting Simkin alone doesn't solve the problem of the GIANT hole in the male principal roster. And yes, ABT has lost some very good male dancers over the years b/c of the overcrowding of male stars for the better part of the past decade...

So I, like you, hope that Kevin M is working on the problem...although IMO, he should have been working on this problem for the past 5 years...b/c even I saw this day coming. Retirement is inevitable, and problems don't come with immediate solutions

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Since I started this thread, I'll play:

Option A (Ranked from very plausible to completely implausible)

1) Muntagirov -- This is a no brainer. He's young, tall and, with English National Ballet in disarray due to Wayne Eagling's resignation/ouster, ripe for the picking.

2) (tie) Matvienko/Vasiliev -- If nothing else, management should make one or both of them full-on principals for the months of May and June when the company is based in New York.

4) Polunin -- This was a no-brainer for me until I read some of the interviews he gave to the British press. He seems very fragile mentally at the moment so I don't think he's in any frame-of-mind to take on the responsibilities of being a male principal at ABT.

5) Jared Angle -- He's considered the best partner at City Ballet and ABT is sorely in need of good partners. He's also stepped out of the Balanchine bubble by, for instance, performing Swan Lake w/ Mearns in Italy. Unlikely in the extreme to happen, as he is no doubt very settled at City Ballet. Also, he may not have the extroverted stage presence (like Angle the Younger has) which the ABT faithful demand.

6) Chase Finlay -- Close to 0% chance of happening given that Peter Martins is grooming him to be the premiere danseur at City Ballet. But he would look great in all those princely roles at ABT. Who knows? Wave a lucrative contract under his nostrils and see if he jumps.

Option B - ABT Soloists

Basically, this category is a desert. Matthews is the most plausible candidate but he suffers from a dull stage presence. If he makes it to principal status, it will be as a utility dancer who gets a lot of matinees. Radetsky's time for advancement has come and gone, and he appears to have settled in at his proper level. Salstein is a wonderful character dancer, and he should keep doing what he does best -- as a soloist. Saveliev is a decent second male lead in productions but, like Matthews, he is not an exciting stage personality and should not advance. Finally, Simkin is short, slight, not especially virile and dances like he is at a gala and not in a performance. If management finds it difficult to cast Cornejo, what are they going to do with Simkin as a principal?

Option B - ABT Corps Guys

This category is almost impossible to handicap because the corps guys are used in such a scattershot manner that it is difficult to know how any of them are growing artistically. That being said, the likeliest candidate for me would be Eric Tamm. He is tall, good-looking and has that all-important princely bearing. I had high hopes for Alex Hammoudi but then came the reports of his inconsistency in the opportunities he was given. I fear that his stock has declined with management. I also question what is going on with Blaine Hoven, who looked like he was on the fast track to soloist status but appears to have plateaued. Julio Bragado-Young is a great actor dancer and, if ABT had a principal character artist classification, he -- along with Salstein -- would be perfect for it. Other names that haven't been mentioned but may have promise are Gray Davis, Grant Delong, Thomas Forster and Luis Ribagorda. Davis has tagged along with Veronika Part as her partner at various guesting spots so maybe he should be given a shot and paired with her in something?

I thought Alexandre H. did very well in the couple of principal roles(Nutcracker and Bright Stream) i saw him danced but he has not been given a major classical role to do(Solor? Siegfred?) Gray D. has the height,looks, technique and stamina.OC friends has reported that he did several performances of Thirteen Diversions(covering for injuries) sensationally. Aaron S. is a terrific dancer but is more of a Herman Cornejo-type .I have not seen Thomas F. in a major role but has the height and appearance.

I just noted in ABT website that A Hammoudi is cast as Romeo with Hee Seo in the June 20 matinee of R and J. Mr KM must have been following BA ongoing discussions.

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I vote for Leonid Sarafanov. I also would like to see a lot more of Ivan Vasiliev.

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This is the kind of passionate discussions that tells about an audience loving and involved in a company that has vehicles for its dancers to shine in a more particular way. Don't ask me why do I think so, but I'm SURE it has somewhat something to do with the XIX century repertoire ABT has cultivated, and that's the type of thing that MCB is totally lacking and in a big time need right now, a little bit of a star system with a proper repertoire suited to it, and hence some excitement, an increasing absence that's starting to show...(at least in my eyes).

I'll never forget the night of Alonso's gala with that DQ danced by three couples, the last act with Carreno and Osipova. One could FEEL the excitement in the air. People screamed, there was a diva doing crazy fouettes onstage and for a moment I really revived FOR THE ONE AND ONLY TIME SINCE I'M IN US my Havana days.

Sorry to be an intruder here, for which I, sadly, would love to participate in this type of discussions too about my home company, but there's not too much I can talk about over here. I'll be back again this season to Slaugther in 10th Ave, and I guess I should be grateful that at least I have something to talk about, right...?

So anyway... back to the new-yorkers and the Basils, Siegfrieds, Amintas, Conrads, Alis, Albrechts and Solors of ABT...

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Since someone brought up Matthew Golding, run to youtube quickly, his gala performance with Obraztsova at Mariinsky is up and beautiful!

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Since someone brought up Matthew Golding, run to youtube quickly, his gala performance with Obraztsova at Mariinsky is up and beautiful!

Is there a trick to finding this? it isn't coming up for me under either of their names (separate or together....)

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I vote for Leonid Sarafanov. I also would like to see a lot more of Ivan Vasiliev.

HOW could I have forgotten Sarafanov! He would definitely be on the top of my wish list. He has amazing ballon and elevation, beautiful line and is steeped in the classics. But he doesn't fill all the roles ABT might want from a star principal and I think it's unlikely he'd become a permanent member.

On the one hand, since moving from the Mariinsky to the Mikh it looks to me like he has a much lower international profile so he might welcome a move to ABT. On the other hand, his wife is still with the Mariinsky and they have a young child so I can't imagine he'd relocate, but maybe as a guest artist?

He's not a very tall dancer, I'd guess maybe 5'8". He's also extremely thin but he's tall & strong enough to have partnered Vishneva, Tereshkina and Somova, none of whom are short. In his early career his partnering was a disaster but in the last couple of years before he left the Mariinsky it had improved markedly and I saw no partnering problems during the 3 week City Center season a few years ago. An interesting possibility to contemplate.

I second (or third!) the call for Kevin to get Matthew Golding back. Can you imagine if Matthew and Danny both came back???

As I said in my earlier post, I don't think any of the current ABT male soloists or corpsmen are ready to be principals but I do think there are some who have long term potential. Gorak, for one, is fantastic. He has the most beautiful feet, and that special something that makes every step absolutely beautiful to watch. I also love Thomas Forster and Roddy Doble - both tall & very talented. And I haven't given up hope for Hammoudi, I just don't think his ascent will be quick, he still has a lot of work to do.

There are a lot of other ABT men that I love, I just don't think some of them fit into the principal mold (Salstein, Scott, Philips). Then there are others like Grant Delong and Gray Davis who haven't been given much to do, so who knows?

On the other hand, when someone has amazing talent its obvious even in a small roll. Many of us in NY had our first look at Osipova as one of the 3 shepherdesses in the Bolshoi's Spartacus. It was barely a corphee role, she and 2 other dancers did some jetes across the stage. Yet the whole audience was abuzz and even the critics noted her. Bujones & Hallberg both made that kind of impact early on. I saw it in Tidwell and I see it in Gorak but I don't really see it yet in any of the other up and coming ABT men.

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Since someone brought up Matthew Golding, run to youtube quickly, his gala performance with Obraztsova at Mariinsky is up and beautiful!

Where? I just looked all over youtube and couldn't find it...

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I second (or third!) the call for Kevin to get Matthew Golding back. Can you imagine if Matthew and Danny both came back???

I just teared up at the wonderfulness of this suggestion...can we get together and pen a letter to Kevin or something?! While I'm sure he's working to solve the problem...I think he needs some inspiration/suggestions, and what better way then to get it from the people who will be watching that dancers

On the other hand, when someone has amazing talent its obvious even in a small roll. Many of us in NY had our first look at Osipova as one of the 3 shepherdesses in the Bolshoi's Spartacus. It was barely a corphee role, she and 2 other dancers did some jetes across the stage. Yet the whole audience was abuzz and even the critics noted her. Bujones & Hallberg both made that kind of impact early on. I saw it in Tidwell and I see it in Gorak but I don't really see it yet in any of the other up and coming ABT men.

I know what you mean...some are great dancers, but others are star dancers...

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Since someone brought up Matthew Golding, run to youtube quickly, his gala performance with Obraztsova at Mariinsky is up and beautiful!

Is there a trick to finding this? it isn't coming up for me under either of their names (separate or together....)

can you share the link? everyone's dying to see it!

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