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ABT's Male Principal ProblemPoll


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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%

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#301 its the mom

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 01:34 PM

I have been lurking, but need to respond.  I will probably ruffle some feathers.  I disagree, Bingham.  I think there are dancers of equal caliber or better than those you list.  There are other issues at play here.  ABT is not the "be-all and end-all" company it was once considered.  With the increase in competitions and more opportunity for dancers to train elsewhere, some of the top dancers are simply not choosing ABT as a company.  Think Het National, English National, a few up and coming at Royal, National Ballet of Canada, SFB, and that's just naming the large companies.  There are several dancers I can think of in each of those companies that are definitely worth seeing.  (In fact, a few of them once danced at ABT and left.)  Some auditioned for ABT, but were not hired.  That doesn't even include a few I can think of at the Mariinsky.  Don't you think dancers look at the company and see the lack of opportunity there?   Not to mention that so many of the other companies I mentioned have far more interesting repertory than what ABT has to offer.  Sorry, there are plenty of dancers out there who are amazing. They are just no longer in one company.



#302 nanushka

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 02:21 PM

Also, the incredible period when Ferri, Ananiashvilli, Vishneva, Corella, Carreno, Bocca, Steifel and others appeared nightly on the Met stage was under McKenzie's leadership. None were "home grown" at ABT, but those were spectacular years when ABT was the envy of every ballet company.

 

Great dancers may be born, not made -- but they still need great training.  The current administration doesn't seem interested in making that investment, so who knows what talent may lie dormant?



#303 miliosr

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 02:45 PM

To McKenzie's credit, he nurtured Cornejo, Gomes, Hallberg and Stearns from the corps to the principal ranks.  (Even though Corella probably would have succeeded wherever he went, he nevertheless thrived and came to world reknown under McKenzie's watch.)  But the last person to go from corps to principal was Stearns and that was over three years ago.  Since that time, things have stagnated on the promotion front with Matthews reaching soloist rank but not getting many principal opportunities, and Hammoudi reaching soloist but not performing much.

 

ABT is not the "be-all and end-all" company it was once considered.

Any yet, for all ABT's deficiencies (hyperconservative repertory, ramshackle productions), male dancers from Australia, Denmark, Italy, Russia and Ukraine are willing to jet into New York this season for the chance to appear under the ABT banner.  So, the old warhorse still has some appeal to it! smile.png



#304 nanushka

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 02:51 PM

Any yet, for all ABT's deficiencies (hyperconservative repertory, ramshackle productions), male dancers from Australia, Denmark, Italy, Russia and Ukraine are willing to jet into New York this season for the chance to appear under the ABT banner.  So, the old warhorse still has some appeal to it! smile.png

 

I admire your balanced thinking, but I find it hard to share.  Is the appeal ABT's, or is it NYC's?  Who wouldn't jet around the world for the chance to dance for New York audiences?



#305 spinning2night

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 02:56 PM

And now the other shoe drops.  With Matthews and Radetsky both leaving at the end of the Met season, ABT will be left with a decimated soloist contingent consisting of Craig Salstein and oft-injured Alexandre Hammoudi.

 

i've been so busy recently that i'm FINALLY finding a moment to catch up...this most recent news really left me speechless. After reading the report on BroadwayWorld, I understand the decision...but WOW...this most certainly is NOT the ABT most of us are familiar with at all...



#306 spinning2night

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 03:03 PM

 

Any yet, for all ABT's deficiencies (hyperconservative repertory, ramshackle productions), male dancers from Australia, Denmark, Italy, Russia and Ukraine are willing to jet into New York this season for the chance to appear under the ABT banner.  So, the old warhorse still has some appeal to it! smile.png

 

I admire your balanced thinking, but I find it hard to share.  Is the appeal ABT's, or is it NYC's?  Who wouldn't jet around the world for the chance to dance for New York audiences?

 

 

while I understand that ABT is based in NYC, I still to this day find is surprising that the company that is recognized as "America's National Ballet Company" doesn't try to reach more audiences...don't get me wrong, I don't expect the company to tour nationwide every year or the dancers to perform more. I just wish that ABT was more accessible year round...it that means more locations during the tour but fewer performances in each, and smaller auditoriums so be it. Also, it's 2014...it's time for ABT to get on the simulcast trend. I'd be at the cinema for EVERY performance.



#307 its the mom

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 03:20 PM

Dancers will jet lots of places for big paychecks.



#308 Helene

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 03:27 PM

There are three different sets of dancers we're talking about:

 

  • Guest stars
  • International stars who are on the roster
  • Home-grown Principal Dancers

I don't see any dearth of the first group, who jet in for their one or two and get back on a plane.  The issue there is more whether they can get permission to guest on those dates, if they belong to another company, or whether they can fit it into their schedule, if they are free-lancers.

 

Okay, four:  Maria Kochetkova seems not to need any sleep besides what she can catch on a red-eye.



#309 miliosr

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 03:31 PM

Is the appeal ABT's, or is it NYC's

I would argue that the appeal of ABT's May-July stand in New York is a combination of New York's appeal on the world stage, the prestige of the Met as a venue, and the accrued reknown ABT enjoys as a result of the glory periods which were the 1940s, the 1970s and the late-90s to late-00s.  Each to his or her own as to what the percentage is for each category.



#310 Tapfan

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 03:53 PM

McKenzie seem like nice guy, or at least as nice as any AD can be. But ABT is mired in mediocrity. Is there any company in the world outside Russia that is more determined than ABT to perform the same damn classical ballets over and over? And on those rare occasions that  the monotony is broken up by a new piece, it's usually a substandard work.  Even Ratmansky has had fewer hits than misses.

 

They need new leadership. I say one of the retired POB stars like Laurent Hiliare or Nicholas LeRiche should be recruited as  AD.  I've seen videos of both these guys coaching and they seem to be naturals at developing young dancers. And both have got to be smarting at having been passed over for the position of POB  AD. 

 

I'm sure there are qualified women from POB who'd  be great as well, yet I've never seen any of them coach. . 



#311 miliosr

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:01 PM

I say one of the retired POB stars like Laurent Hiliare or Nicholas LeRiche should be recruited as AD.

I could get behind Hiliare for sure.



#312 Helene

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:12 PM

Paris Opera Ballet's 2014-15 season has ten programs with :

  • 1 classic, Nureyev's "Sleeping Beauty" (20 performances)
  • 3 neoclassical full-lengths: Neumeier's "Lady of the Camellias," (14 performances) Cranko's "Onegin," (13 performances) Petit's "Notre Dame de Paris" (9 performances)
  • 1 contemporary full-length:  Preljocaj's "Le Parc" (19 performances)
  • 1 modern full-length (with opera):  Bausch's "Orphee et Eurydice" (8 performances)

83 of 129 (2/3)

 

(None are new to POB; the Petit is from 1965.)

 

In addition, there are 4 mixed bills of 10 (Teshigawara/Brown/Kylian), 11 (Cullberg/de Mille), 13 (Balanchine/Millepied), 12 (Robbins/Ratmansky) performances respectively.

 

46 of 129 (1/3)

 

not including the Le Riche evening.

 

The Paris audience is a lot more adventurous than the NY audience, and they are not dependent on donors + box office the same way ABT is.  Still, they're performing twice as many full-lengths as mixed bills.



#313 ABT Fan

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:59 PM

How is ABT going to fill in the ranks when they go to Australia in August/September for 2 weeks?  With 4 soloists leaving in early July (though Kristi Boone hardly dances anymore so her departure doesn't really count in terms of needing another dancer) and the fact that guest artists (or exchange artists, as some are affectionately called now) rarely go on tour with the company, how are they going to have enough male dancers for the principal parts?  They're doing 9 performances of Swan Lake and 4 performance of mixed rep.  The mixed rep can be dealt with with mainly soloists, but for SL you need principals and/or experienced/senior soloists.  Hammoudi can do SL if he's injury free, but not Salstein.  That's it for male soloists.  It's safe to assume that Hallberg won't be on the tour since he only performs at the Met now, and Vasiliev is a wild card (and a poor choice for Siegfried).  Bolle only tours with them occasionally.  Simkin can only be partnered with Boylston (the only female who dances SL that he can handle).  Cornejo only dances SL with Cojocaru, another guest artist.  Hopefully Stearns will have recovered by then.  Gomes is a workhorse, but he can't dance SL every other night.  Same for Whiteside.  Will we see an announcement of guest/exchange artists accompanying the tour?  Will there be a bunch of promotions?  (But, that won't help the main casting for Australia.  Would they put Gorak for instance in SL?) Will we see a number of new hires to the corps/soloist/principal ranks?  Or some combo of all?  

 

These are rhetorical questions as I'm thinking out loud.  

 

But, the question is, what does everyone think they should do?  

 

*I meant to add, that even without the 2 male soloists leaving in July, the need for principal dancers (and experienced soloists) would be still be an issue for casting the principal parts for the Australian tour.


Edited by ABT Fan, 07 May 2014 - 05:21 PM.


#314 Tapfan

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:18 PM

  

 

But, the question is, what does everyone think they should do?  

 

They should promote from within. If none of the lower-ranked dancers are good enough to some day be principals, then what are they doing in the company?  Aren't dancers hired for their potential to grow as artists? 

 

Surely McKenzie doesn't expect all his principals to be international superstars.



#315 mimsyb

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:50 PM

 

  

 

But, the question is, what does everyone think they should do?  

 

They should promote from within. If none of the lower-ranked dancers are good enough to some day be principals, then what are they doing in the company?  Aren't dancers hired for their potential to grow as artists? 

 

Surely McKenzie doesn't expect all his principals to be international superstars.

 

Well, I think some dancers might be hired because they are very strong corps dancers.   Marian Butler and Adrienne Schulte come to mind.  Both solid corps dancers and a needed commodity in any organization.   They sometimes get a chance to step out, but mostly perform as the "spine" of the ensemble.  Always reliable.  Sadly, I do feel in ABT's case that it is becoming more and more a company of International Principles with an American back up ensemble.   Maybe they should change the name to International Ballet Theater.




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