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ABT's Male Principal ProblemPoll


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350 replies to this topic

Poll: Promote From Within or Go On a Spending Spree? (73 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 [61.64%])

    Percentage of vote: 61.64%

  2. Go out into the free market and hire male principals from outside the company (28 votes [38.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.36%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#256 mimsyb

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:19 AM

Slightly off topic, but I believe a' newbie' to ABT's corps, Duncan Lyle is also from BB. In a perfect world, we could retrieve Erica Cornejo from BB. One can only dream!

#257 FauxPas

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 12:58 PM

I saw Roddy Doble dance Solor's solo from the Kingdom of the Shades scene in "La Bayadere". He was a guest alumni performer at the final round of the 2009 New York International Ballet Competition. He isn't just big - the guy can move. His only mistake was that the stage was too small for his last round of barrel turns and he banged into the backdrop. He could do more. I suspect that Alexandre Hammoudi's precipitous rise to soloist was the need for a tall soloist from the corps. Several medium and shorter dancers who are way more polished and reliable technically than Hammoudi were passed over.

#258 miliosr

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 07:33 AM

Robert Gottlieb provides an in-depth overview of the roster:

http://observer.com/...at-every-level/

First half discusses the women; second half discusses the men. (Gottlieb will make Stearns detractors happy, Simkin boosters unhappy, and Gorak boosters happy.)

Lots to chew on in this overview!

#259 Helene

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:48 AM

Gottlieb gives all of the NYCB women a kick in the gut in passing.

#260 Drew

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

Gottlieb gives all of the NYCB women a kick in the gut in passing.



That was the one aspect of the article I disagreed with; For me, also, the general slamming of NYCB at end of article seemed a little unfair if he was not going to back it up with some actual analysis as he had just given of ABT. Of course Gottlieb has more personal history with NYCB and, one suspects, greater emotional and intellectual investment in its traditions which may make him harsher or at any rate more inclined to find things "dispiriting" -- his word -- when he sees problems (which they do have). I suppose it's also possible that if he really found their season dispiriting he thought he was being less harsh by not detailing his objections.

For the rest, although I have not seen the range of performances he discusses (and that others on this board have seen) I found everything else he said completely persuasive based on what I HAVE seen. Completely agree with him about Semionova--so far at least. She's impeccable, but....--and right now, for me, it's a substantial "but." And though I did not see Boylston's Swan Lake I did see her Firebird and agree with his account of her as a thoughtful artist with real ballerina potential. Actually pretty much agree with him about every dancer he mentioned.

To get to men and topic of this thread:

Even Gottlieb's asides re ABT rang true to me as in his praise for Zhurbin's Kastchei -- which I did see and found better even than Hallberg's: more powerful melodrama villain, less glam rock wannabe. (Uh...that last comparison is me not Gottlieb, but he did make a point of praising Zhurbin's performance in Hallberg's "role" as he put it).

Re the men, too: I decidedly share the reservations about Stearns whom I found not only bland as Albrecht, if not bad at all and even much improved (this was in Chicago), but also bland as Katschei, which is a neat trick given Ratmansky's crazed vision.

And, despite having shown, for a nano-second, a genuinely Dowell-esque arabesque in The Dream, Stearn's Oberon completely missed the point of the key moment in the final pas de deux when Oberon lifts one arm over his head while supporting Titania w. another arm as she turns, as it were, under her own arabesque beneath him. At this moment, Oberon raises one arm then casts it down on her waist in a gesture of mastery (loving mastery if you prefer). Gomez did this with real command and Hallberg, though more gentle, still looked out at the audience as he lifted his arm--clearly asserting himself before placing the arm on her waist. Stearns could not even look up as he raised his arm but had to keep his eyes on the arm supporting the ballerina and just lifted his other arm up weightlessly en couronne then let it down as if he had no notion of what the gesture might mean or that it might mean anything. (None of the three men could really "master" Ashton's choreography for the irreplaceable Anthony Dowell, but in different ways Gomez and Hallberg gave excellent performances; the latter was especially otherworldly).

Edited later to add: I can't yet get behind the idea of Simkin as a leading male dancer in the 'canonical' repertory. Extraordinarily talented, yes; wonderful to watch in the right role, yes--but until and unless he can find a way to look like an adult on stage (even a short adult) he can't convincingly inhabit classic 'leading man' roles. I know people on this board were convinced by his Siegfried which I missed...but I remain dubious.

Would be happy to be proved wrong about both Stearns and Simkin of course.

Anyway, thanks for drawing attention to this essay...

#261 ABT Fan

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 11:22 AM

"Cory Stearns: Cory is developing - his Albrecht with Hee Seo showed strong improvement as an interpreter and in his technique. He has beautiful line and finishes his steps elegantly. He isn't flashy but has a long-limbed open lyrical style of dancing that has potential. I did not see his Romeo this year but did see the Siegfried and Conrad partnering Veronika Part. This is not a good combination. Her authority, womanliness and depth make him seem very bland and boyish - totally callow and out of his league. That is IT right now for the regular male principals. Let's talk about the male guests who papered over the cracks:

On the soloist level: Gennadi Saveliev is leaving which leaves us with:

Alexandre Hammoudi: Just promoted. Needs a lot of coaching. The charisma is there but not the technique. Not the greatest actor too though he looks great onstage.
Jared Matthews: Did a lot of fine work this season - particularly as Lensky in the "A-list" opening night cast of "Onegin" Losing the blandness and dancing better than ever. Go Jared!
Sascha Radetsky: Going nowhere at ABT - should possibly consider leaving ABT with his wife and seeing if San Francisco Ballet will take them.
Craig Salstein: I love him but not principal material Superb comedian and very versatile stylistically. His Mercutio showed what a fantastic dancer he is.
Daniil Simkin: I did not see the Siegfried with Boylston but read the reviews. Seems that he still feels and looks very young onstage. A boy wonder, not a danseur noble. Can do anything with his legs he wants to but is not yet a complete artist. Still he has done well in enough roles (Prodigal Son, Puck in "The Dream", Franz in "Coppelia") that he is worth continuing to develop. He will be promoted and soon.

Lots of potential soloists still in the corps: Mikhail Ilyin, Joseph Gorak (breakthrough season for him), Joseph Phillips, Arron Scott, Thomas Forster and Eric Tamm (he hasn't done much this season). I would like to see more of Roman Zhurbin, Roddy Doble and Vitali Krauchenka in real dancing solo roles rather than mime heavies. They could take over some of Gennadi's old assignments. I also would like to see more of Luis Ribagorda (I liked his Neapolitan dance in "Swan Lake" Act III.)"

-----------------------------------------

I agree with much of the above.

Cory is developing, but is not nearly strong enough in technique or partnering to be considered a "war horse" principal.

I think Gennadi's departure will really be felt. He was terrific in character parts that also required a good amount of solid dancing. He wasn't always exciting (but sometimes really was) but he was extremely reliable and solid.

Sadly, I agree that Sascha/Stella have been going nowhere and perhaps it's time they move on before they get too old. Though the obvious difficulty in getting principal jobs together at the same company is perhaps why they've stayed at ABT so long. I can't help but wonder if Sascha's going to Dutch Nat'l Ballet as a principal was his last ditch effort to be taken seriously by ABT and get promoted. I love them both and will never understand why Stella wasn't promoted years ago.

Daniil, is a boy wonder but he should not be promoted any time soon. His partnering skills are scary and he needs to start performing with more maturity (and less mugging).

Gorak and Tamm should be promoted to Soloist level. I thought seasons ago that Hoven was also Soloist material, but I'm afraid his chance has been lost, as too much time has gone by.

#262 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:49 AM

I just voted for promoting within the ranks. I have always respected the way NYCB, for example, grows its own talent and promotes from within. However, NYCB does not seem to have a 'star system' like ABT, and I recognize the importance of bringing in talent from the outside sometimes.

#263 bingham

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:40 PM

After seeing them at the ABT-Bard season, I am adding Gray Davis and Thomas Forster to the list of future soloists.

#264 miliosr

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:03 AM

Well, the dust has settled and we are left with the following as the male principals contingent for 2012-13:

Beloserkovsky
Bolle
Cornejo
Gomes
Hallberg
Simkin
Stearns
Vasiliev

The negative:
Beloserkovsky is a principal in name only. Cornejo is difficult to cast because of his height and is oft-injured. Hallberg is in Russia for part of the year and, like Cornejo, is laboring more and more with injuries. (Overwork?) Simkin has numerous deficiencies which limit his casting. Vasiliev is yet another short principal.

The positive:
Bolle is assuming more responsibility in the company (i.e. performing in the Fall). Gomes and Stearns remain constants in the repertory. Vasiliev, like Bolle, appears to be taking on more responsibility.

Prognosis:
Bolle, Gomes and Stearns will continue to be the workhorses. Whiteside and, perhaps, Hammoudi will have to pick up a lot of the slack and function as de facto principals. Kevin McKenzie should still pursue prying Muntagirov from Tamara Rojo's grasp.

#265 Jane Simpson

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:29 AM

Kevin McKenzie should still pursue prying Muntagirov from Tamara Rojo's grasp.


Please not! ENB needs him a lot more than ABT does.

#266 ABT Fan

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:41 AM

Well, the dust has settled and we are left with the following as the male principals contingent for 2012-13:

Beloserkovsky
Bolle
Cornejo
Gomes
Hallberg
Simkin
Stearns
Vasiliev


I agree with miliosr's prognosis.

I think this leaves the company in a very precarious position - heaven forbid Gomes becomes injured and is out for any length of time, who can step in? He has been carrying the load of male principal parts for some time, year-round. He is the best partner they have and in my opinion, the most versatile.

I really hope that the 2013 season is the last for Beloserkovsky. Sorry if that is harsh, but his salary would be better spent on someone who actually dances.

On a side note, I hope ABT nutures the younger guys who show a lot of potential right now. As this thread shows, the company needs to do a much better job of nuturing and developing talent and not letting dancers (male and female) stall in the corps or as soloists. Eric Tamm is opening Nutcracker (and performed the lead last year too) and has really shown that he is soloist material. Joseph Gorak also has the talent. I hope they don't languor in the corp.

#267 bad feet

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 10:47 AM

I would like to see Thomas Forster promoted to soloist asp

#268 angelica

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:05 PM

Arron Scott was excellent in A Month in the Country.

#269 nysusan

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 06:27 PM

I would like to see Thomas Forster promoted to soloist asp


I second that! Forster and Joseph Gorak are both so very ready for a promotion. When either of them are onstage my eye is drawn to them so strongly that I have to force myself to look at anyone else.

#270 bad feet

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:18 AM


I would like to see Thomas Forster promoted to soloist asp


I second that! Forster and Joseph Gorak are both so very ready for a promotion. When either of them are onstage my eye is drawn to them so strongly that I have to force myself to look at anyone else.


Me too!
As the poll shows a 60/40 split perhaps we can look forward to some new promotions from within the company.


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