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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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#316 miliosr

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 03:50 AM

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

In regard to the male principals problem (current roster + succession), the problem has been years in the making.  So, I don't know that there's an immediate solution short of just throwing bodies into parts to see who sticks.

 

That being said, the first thing they need to do is to go to the part-time principals -- Bolle, Hallberg and Vasiliev -- and say, "Either you commit to (at a minimum) the Met season for the entire run or we have to cut you loose for 2015."  This wouldn't solve the looming touring problem but it would be a start at stabilizing the male dancer situation.  Hallberg would be the real loss but ABT's sole purpose isn't to further Hallberg's fame on the world dance stage.



#317 cobweb

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 04:54 AM

Perhaps this thread should be re-titled "ABT's Talent Development & Retention Problem" -- it's not just male principals. I was so sorry to see Simone Messmer and Maria Riccetto leave, and now Yuriko Kajiya. Stella Abrera... let's not even go down that path. At least we still get to see her dance! As for Kristi Boone, she looked very promising when she was promoted to soloist... 7 years ago. I really don't understand why she has danced so little, but I'm assuming that like the others, her talents were not appreciated.

As for casting in Australia, perhaps Sarah Lane will get a Swan Lake with Cornejo...? 



#318 miliosr

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 03:32 AM

I've updated the tallies to reflect the Swan Lake casting and the Cornejo-Simkin switch in Theme.  Bolded names reflect a change and the #s in parentheses reflect added or subtracted performances:

 

Whiteside (P) = 15 (+2)

Gomes (P) = 14

Stearns (P) = 9 (+1)

Cornejo (P) = 7 (-1)

Hallberg (P) = 7

Matthews (S) = 7 (+2)

Simkin (P) = 7 (+1)

Bolle (P) = 4

Radetsky (S) = 4 (+1)

Hammoudi (S) = 3 (+2)

Jackson (GP) = 2

Tamm © = 2

Shklyarov (GP) = 2

Vasiliev (P) = 2

Gorak © = 1

Lendorf (GP) = 1

Muntagirov (GP) = 1

Nedak (GP) = 1

Veyette (GP) = 1

 

Some observations:

 

1) Whiteside vaults to the the top position as the hardest working principal.  Sorry Marcelo!

 

2) Matthews and Radetsky both picked up more performances (good thing) but their performances are experiments in a void -- they are both leaving at the end of the season. 

 

3) Once again, Cornejo has to drop out of a production during the Met season.



#319 ABT Fan

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 07:17 AM

Never thought anyone would be scheduled more than Gomes.  But, the season is early so that could change again!

 

Gorak is dancing the lead in Cinderella twice (6/11, 6/14) and the lead in Coppelia once (7/5) , so his tally should be bumped up to 3.



#320 abatt

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 07:24 AM

Holy cow.  Major casting change.  Didn't even notice that Gorak got Cinderellas w. Reyes.  Stearns is out of Cinderella and Whiteside moves into the slot as Hee Seo's partner.  Interesting developments.  So is Cory going to make it his Manon assignments next week.  He's still listed as of today.



#321 miliosr

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 08:51 AM

Holy cast changes, Batman!  I've updated the rankings again to reflect the Cinderella shifts:

 

Whiteside (P) = 15

Gomes (P) = 14

Hallberg (P) = 7

Matthews (S) = 7

Simkin (P) = 7

Stearns (P) = 7 (-2)

Cornejo (P) = 5 (-2)

Bolle (P) = 4

Radetsky (S) = 4

Gorak © = 3 (+2)

Hammoudi (S) = 3

Jackson (GP) = 2

Tamm © = 2

Shklyarov (GP) = 2

Vasiliev (P) = 2

Lendorf (GP) = 1

Muntagirov (GP) = 1

Nedak (GP) = 1

Veyette (GP) = 1



#322 ABT Fan

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 08:58 AM

I'd love to think that the ABT gods took my advice because I wrote earlier how I'd love to see Gorak as the lead in Cinderella!

 

So, maybe they'll head this one too and give that boy a promotion!



#323 Balanchinomane

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 10:02 AM

Just bought a ticket to see Gorak - now this is exciting. I love seeing company debuts. 

Especially someone as exceptional as Joe Gorak.



#324 miliosr

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 02:48 PM

At this point, I give up even trying to keep track of who's doing what on the danseur side of things.  The only thing to do now is to wait for the end of the season and do a full post-mortem on the male side of things.  (I'm waiting to see if there will be promotions to bolster what will be an incredibly depleted soloist contingent after Matthews departs and Radetsky retires.)



#325 FauxPas

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:56 PM

Message reposted below.



#326 abatt

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:28 PM

It was a bit funny that the NY Times critic A. Macauley, indirectly picked up on our Ballet Talk thread in his summary of the ABT season, in effect pointing out the male principal problem at ABT which we have been talking about here for years.

 

I think they were expecting that Hammoudi would step into some of the principal roles by now, but it was clear to me from watching Hammoudi's Rothbart that he is not even remotely ready physically or in any other way to be a leading man.

 

Gorak is their next great prospect, but he needs to work on partnering.  In his favor, he took on the Prince in Cinderella on short notice. However, they dumbed down the partnering to assist him.  They should not do that in the future. 

 

 

Another problem that has become apparent is that they have two short principal men  (Cornejo and Simkin), but they have not taught certain leading roles to their own short ballerinas.  Other than Boylston, they did not have an inhouse short ballerina who could dance SL with Cornejo, so when Cojocaru did a last minute cancellation, there was nobody left to fill in.  Sarah Lane would have been a great choice, but .....  Now they are teaching O/O  to Copeland, who presumably could dance with Herman in the future.   (Not thrilled about the proliferation of short people in SL.  SL looks better on long limbs.) 



#327 Helene

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:38 PM

Although you wouldn't always know it from reading Ballet Alert!, Macaulay is watching the same season that we are.



#328 ABT Fan

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 02:25 PM

Thank you FauxPas for starting this comprehensive list.

An interesting suggestion that Gomes could be running his own company in a few years....

Hallberg is 31 I believe and I think Gomes is 34 or 35. I'll be very interested to see how much Hallberg dances during the fall season.

I keep checking the casting for Australia - who is going to dance all of those SL's if they don't take guest artists? Maybe they'll have Jackson from the Australian ballet guest with them again?

I also keep wondering if we'll see any new hires soon? Not guest artists. Four male soloists is not enough (esp with Hammoudi frequently injured/still not recovered and Zhurbin who dances mostly character roles). And of course the principal problem....

#329 miliosr

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 02:51 PM

Let me also say thanks to Faux for writing yet another excellent summary this year!

 

A few thoughts to add:

 

1) The year-after-year injuries to Herman Cornejo and David Hallberg during the Met season, and the continuing casting challenges posed by the heights of Cornejo and Daniil Simkin are major problems for the company.  They force the company to overrely on Marcelo Gomes, Cory Stearns and James Whiteside.  If one of those three goes down with an injury (as happened this year to Stearns), the company is thrown into turmoil and is forced to cobble together a patchwork of male dancers from around the world to cover.

 

2) I'm still ambivalent about Simkin as a principal.  To his credit, he stepped in and did back-to-back Themes this season.  He also looks like he is spending time in the gym bulking up his waif-like physique.  Nevertheless, I think it was telling that his name was hardly in the mix for replacement duties when the schedule cratered again at the end of the season.  He's just difficult to cast.

 

3) As ABT Fan noted, the male soloist situation remains woeful.  Roman Zhurbin and Craig Salstein are more actor-dancers than dancer-dancers.  That leaves a rising Joey Gorak and a stalled Alexandre Hammoudi as potential backstops for the principal roster.  I would really like to see Thomas Forster and Eric Tamm advance in order to bolster the depleted soloist ranks.

 

4) Losing Jared Matthews was a real blow.  He had finally come into his own and was poised to replace Vasiliev when he inevitably leaves (by his choice or McKenzie's.)



#330 canbelto

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 03:36 PM

I'll add that Cory Stearns remains a very frustrating dancer. He has beautiful lines, great posture, etc. etc. but just can't project beyond the footlights. His face is either just not a stage face, or he hasn't figured out a combo of makeup/acting that will project beyond the footlights. It hurts that he dances in the Met, where many seats are so far away. As of now he remains like a complete cavalier type dancer: solid, good partner, but nothing acting-wise. It really makes me miss Angel Corella and how he used to jump onstage and beam and the last row of the family circle could see it.




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