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ABT's Male Principal ProblemPoll


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Poll: Promote From Within or Go On a Spending Spree? (72 member(s) have cast votes)

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

  1. Promote from within to fill the ranks (45 votes [62.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 62.50%

  2. Go out into the free market and hire male principals from outside the company (27 votes [37.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.50%

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#166 spinning2night

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:49 PM

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

#167 bingham

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:05 PM


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.

#168 abatt

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:28 PM

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

#169 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:09 PM

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...

#170 vrsfanatic

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:47 AM

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

#171 aurora

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:52 AM

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....)

#172 nysusan

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:10 AM

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.

#173 nysusan

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:19 AM

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...

#174 spinning2night

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:32 AM

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...

#175 spinning2night

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:35 AM


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!

#176 bingham

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:44 AM


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...

I think, the problem why the talented male corp and soloists are not progressing as much as expected is the absence of a good male coach. The ladies have Irina and others but the males don't have one. They should have JM Carreno as a coach,ballet master .

#177 miliosr

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

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

Board members have advanced the names of several American candidates and Guillaume Cote's name has surfaced in regard to Canada.

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.

Agreed. It would be perfect for Bragado-Young, Salstein, Scott and Zhurbin.

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.

How old is he, though? He would be a stopgap at best (and another short principal.)

#178 miliosr

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:38 AM

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

Well, there's a distinct minority on this board who would prefer it if ABT got back to the Carolines and Billy the Kids and Hagars and Moors and Cowgirls.

I think, the problem why the talented male corp and soloists are not progressing as much as expected is the absence of a good male coach. The ladies have Irina and others but the males don't have one. They should have JM Carreno as a coach,ballet master .

Hasn't this always been the case at ABT, though? As Arlene Croce pointed out in the 90s, ABT dancers need to be more self-reliant than dancers at most companies.

#179 vrsfanatic

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:57 AM

I could not copy it. It is Russian youtube. I have tried many time to post it, but the link is some media link and I cannot post it here for some reason. Sorry. I have tried and tried. It just keeps leading to my youtube account which I would prefer to remain private.

#180 ksk04

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:03 PM

I could not copy it. It is Russian youtube. I have tried many time to post it, but the link is some media link and I cannot post it here for some reason. Sorry. I have tried and tried. It just keeps leading to my youtube account which I would prefer to remain private.


No worries..here we go. It's purposefully cagey, I believe, due to what they are dancing.

http://youtu.be/xbYlWrvMitY


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