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