I'm sure a lot of dancers wanted to move to Seattle to work for Peter Boal, too, but it's a tricky business for company balance and morale to bring in a bunch of dancers to replace the ones that are there.
I think that many ABT dancers are NOT OK with their situation in the company and are very frustrated. I think many dancers (as many as he can take) will leave ABT to go to New Zealand with Ethan. Other dancers who weren't trained at SAB are not necessarily suited to the many other excellent U.S. companies because of their Balanchine heavy reps (most are run by former NYCB dancers) That leaves them in a difficult spot.
There are 32 dancers on the roster now. Of them, I counted:
- 12 are from New Zealand
- 8 are from Australia
- 1 is Japanese-born and got a scholarship to train at Australian Ballet's school
- 3 came from England and trained at the Royal Ballet School
- 1 is from Singapore and moved to NZ to study dance
- 1 is from China and taught with a Chinese-born former dancer in the company
- 1 is from France and used to dance with ENB
There's another Chinese-trained dancer, and a handful from the US -- trained in North Carolina and might have been trained by Stiefel -- Brazil, and Europe. (The Belgian-born dancer is from Chimay!) Which makes all but a few either from the region and/or had a tie to the company, and/or trained/dance in commonwealth countries.
It's a tricky balance, especially with almost all of the dancers being home-grown or regional, and having similar training, to start importing.
I disagree. I think that it was important for Martins to show that he, too, could produce prodigious dancers from the school, not to mention that young phenoms create good publicity stories, but many of the Principals from the period right before and after Martins took over the company -- Maria Calegari, Stephanie Saland, Nichol Hlinka, Joseph Duell, Judith Fugate, Melinda Roy, Helene Alexopoulos for example -- were promoted in their mid-twenties or later. Before that, it took Merrill Ashley, Heather Watts, and Bart Cook about ten years and Daniel Duell seven years to reach Principal.
BTW, Simkin and Lane are not that young - both 25 or 26. Many principals at NYCB are that age and have been principals for almost 10 years. If you wait until a dancer is 30 to promote him/her, you are losing the bulk of their career.
Most dancers take longer to reach their potential, even if the talent is recognized. As a wise man said about go players -- who have until 30 to pass the pro test -- in the manga "Hikaru no go":
Mr. Amano, some people say to make it in the go world you have to discover your talent early on. But I am constantly reminded that people don't blossom according to some organizational time table.
I think that you lose the bulk of a dancers' career if the dancer isn't nurtured, supported, and given the opportunities to progress at his/her pace, and that if the dancer is pushed aside constantly by the new young dancers. Since I've been attending ABT in the 70's, it seems to me that many of the "home grown" dancers in the company are used to fill in the blanks. Which is fine, if both parties understand the deal. The trade-off of dancing a lot of performance for a world-famous company that tours and pays enough to live in NYC vs. getting the roles and rank in smaller American cities could be worth it.