Jump to content


ABT's Male Principal ProblemPoll


  • Please log in to reply
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

#61 nysusan

nysusan

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 05:29 PM

What about Martin Harvey? Is he too old (not sure how old he is). Has he been away from classical ballet too long? He looked great with Kowroski in Wheeldon's pas de deux for the Met's Carmen. And he seems to be hanging around NY these days...

I also think Sarabita might be a good pick up.

The problem with promoting from within, as I see it, is that most of ABT's soloist men really don't seem ready for a move to principal. And some of their most talented men (Simkin, Phillips, Ilyin, Gorak) are too short to partner a lot of their ballerinas. ONE of these guys is likely to make it to principal in the next few years, but I don't see there being room for more than one of them at the principal level.

There are a lot of talented men at the corps and soloist level, and they definitely need development. I don't know the inner workings of ABT, but I suspect that coaching may be a problem. But then, you never know. Take Jared Matthews. I liked him when he was in the corps but he seemed to flounder once he was promoted to soloist. This season he's been fantastic. Maybe it just takes time.

I think ABT has a bigger problem with its female roster, and they really don't have a good track record when it comes to developing their female talent. Apologies to those who champion Riccetto, Boone, & Lane - but I don't see any one of them as a principal. Maybe Lane - but I'm not convinced & she still needs a lot of work. I agree that her T&V was great and her Sleeping Beauty showed a lot of promise but neither one was really a knockout. I'd also like to see her get another Beauty - I really don't understand why she hasn't, except that ABT only gives X number of performances of each ballet and they'd have to leave someone off the rotation to make room for her. Who should she replace this season? Part, Reyes, Murphy, Hererra, Dvorovenko, Osipova, Cojocaru? I'd love to see her Giselle - I'd prefer to see hers than Seo's or Abrera's, but that's my preference. Each dancer has her own fans and again, who should lose their Giselle to make room for Sarah? This season in addition to Seo's Giselle debut we had Vishneva (twice), Dvorovenko, Cojocaru, Herrera, Kent & Reyes. It's not so easy to make room for soloists to develop.

#62 nysusan

nysusan

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 05:48 PM

Another male dancer I'd love to see at ABT: Fabrice Calmels. He might be too committed to the Joffrey to be persuaded, but maybe they could get him to guest. I've only seen him dance twice, but I've been very impressed with him. I'm not sure if he has real virtuoso technique but he has beautiful line, he's tall, handsome and a really great partner. Gomes can't do all the heavy lifting!

#63 bingham

bingham

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 702 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 06:38 PM



If i'm not mistaken Vadim graduated from the Royal Ballet School. It was a big surprise that Royal Ballet did not hire him. :huh:



E But like I said I wouldn't be surprised if Mason and the RB are avidly trying to poach him.


Then Kevin Mc should fly to London as soon as the season is over to sign him... :FIREdevil:

#64 ruteyo

ruteyo

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 06:40 PM

ABT'S Male Principal Problem is largely about ABT's problem with its directorship. It is time that ABT changed their Director, nothing is going to change now with Kevin McKenzie. We've seen him repeat all his mistakes. His productions are provincial, the MET season is filled with the same kind of classical repertory every year except for a few premieres (though Ratmansky is bringing a bit of a change perhaps). I feel as if ABT is even lagging behind many of Europe's great but smaller companies like Het National, Hamburg, even Royal Ballet of Flanders (their Onegin this season was exquisite). A better direction and better artistic taste is needed. I cant even go into the womens issue here, as Im afraid we'll all get into a fight or something because everyone is so opinionated. All those lingering at the soloist level are "good" but not "special" enough, including Kajiya and Lane. Kajiya is being used frequently this season because of the upcoming Japan tour and the revenue + marketing perks that the Japanese audience brings given the insane popularity of ballet there. And being special is not easy to develop, you either have it or you dont. That doesnt mean that some of them won't become well-rounded dancers, but there are so many dancers in other more "regional companies" that seem to have a better package although they might not be at the level that Cojocaru/Vishneva/Seminiova is in terms of publicity. Take the beautiful Carla Korbes at PNB for example. Or Jurgita Dronina at HET. And none of them had started at their respective companies from the corps level. So no, its not just about nurturing from within. Or look at how amazing Matt Golding is at the Het, he is the only dancer who would be an immediate principal at ABT if he was still there. This is all largely due to McKenzie's lack of taste and judgment in seeing the potential of some dancers whether its nurturing from within or hiring those into the corps or soloist level (but excluding the "stars"). And that is why there needs to be an AD change. Baryshnikov had a lot of problems and not all his prima ballerinas were great, but he had much better taste in seeing the future potential of female dancers.

#65 GeorgeB fan

GeorgeB fan

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 252 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 07:12 PM

I just watched some videos of Vadm Muntagirov on YouTube. He seems to be very talented. It's not surprising he's developing a strong fanbase with ENB's audience. ABT would be very lucky to have him. But it does bring a thought in my head. I don't mind ABT inviting guest artist to perform a full season. But what would be the attitude of ballet companies across the world towards ABT if ABT start this massive shopping at scooping up other dancers from other companies? How would ABT be perceived by their company of peers? As a company who steals, or worst, a company that can't develop it's own natural talent in their own backyard? Either way it certainly wouldn't look all that favorable to ABT. In a way - without meaning too of course but with a cynical way at looking at things - they could be broadcasting to the ballet world their stable of dancers are rather weak. Something I don't think any ballet company wish to have as a reputation.

#66 Batsuchan

Batsuchan

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 07:20 PM

when i read the bit about Marcelo teaching a class on partnering, i actually almost started laughing as I remember reading somewhere that he didn't start partnering until later in the schooling years (someone correct me if i'm wrong). That makes me wonder if Marcelo has a better understanding of partnering and is much more mentally engaged in what he does when dancing WITH someone b/c of his steeper learning curve. Marcelo is the most reliable male principal in the company if not the most in the world. He partners with so little effort but so much care that it makes everything the female he is dancing with effortless.


I totally agree that Marcelo is an amazing partner, but I think he's had a lot of experience! I happened to stumble upon this old interview with him from 2003, and I thought his answers were really illuminating:

http://www.balletale...iews/Gomes.html

One of the things that is so noticeable about your dancing is your partnering. Could you talk about that aspect?

I actually started partnering very early, in Brazil, when I could barely lift, so I have been trying to put girls on their feet for a very long time! We also had a lot of partnering work at Harid. Surprisingly, partnering wasn’t that important in Paris. They waited until the last year in the school to give partnering class, so I was really much more advanced than the other boys. When I got to ABT, I really developed a joy in presenting the ballerina. When you come on stage, she is the first thing you see, or if you do see her partner, he should match her perfectly. It is just such a beautiful thing to see. I try to make it work—there is nothing worse than an angry ballerina! I really like to look into someone’s eyes and feel like you are making a connection. That’s really much more exciting to me than seven thousand pirouettes.


To me, it seems that being a good partner is not just about height or strength, but a lot about attitude. I think Marcelo is a fantastic partner because he WANTS to be a fantastic partner, because he ENJOYS being a fantastic partner. And I'm not sure that is something you can really train, though that attitude can certainly be encouraged.

Going back to the original question, like many others, I probably vote for BOTH. Within the company, I would expect Simkin to eventually make principal. I could see Jared Matthews doing lead roles, but he's not yet a dancer that makes me excited to see him. Hammoudi is certainly tall and handsome, though I am a bit worried about his lack of consistency and his partnering mistakes. Eric Tamm is another corps dancer who routinely catches my eye--very well-centered pirouettes and nice extension--and he did a very admirable job of partnering Part in the very-athletic "Lady of the Camellias" lifts. I feel like I haven't seen enough of Hoven to have a strong opinion either way.

I'm not too familiar with dancers outside of ABT, but when I saw Chase Finlay in "Apollo" at NYCB, I did start to imagine what it would look like to see him as Siegfried or Albrecht. :sweatingbullets: I personally am not a fan of Vasiliev--a little too sloppy for my tastes--but I completely understand that he would pack the house. My concern there, however, is that he is rather short (though super-strong), so it doesn't help much if he can only partner Reyes and Osipova (and maybe Cojocaru?). I thoroughly enjoyed Sarabia in DQ, but I'm not sure how he would look in the other ballets (can he do the tragic roles?).

Is Polina Semionova's brother any good? All I know about Dmitry Semionov is that he's very tall and went to the Vaganova school and then the Mariinsky before joining her in Berlin. If he's good, it might be nice to have another tall guy around.

I'm starting to feel like one problem is that ABT's up-and-coming men tend to be on the shorter-to-medium height, while the female principals/soloists/guests are on the medium-to-tall side of the spectrum. Maybe ABT should bring more shorter guest ballerinas--like, say, Evgenia Obraztsova! I know this is a thread about the male dancers, but I would *love* to see her at ABT! (And maybe she can bring Ratmansky's "Cinderella" with her.) :wink:

As for the partnership issue that some posters have raised--I think Vishneva/Gomes are becoming a great one, though they aren't necessarily being publicized that way. And I think if ABT wants Vishneva to do more performances, then give her Gomes and some dramatic roles, and I think she would be here. If next season we have Onegin, Giselle, La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and R&J or Manon, I bet we'd see her more than we did this season. But, if management thinks Osipova or Semionova are better at filling the seats, then that's a different story...

I guess we shall see what transpires!

#67 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,225 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 07:26 PM

A dancer from Houston who ABT would be smarter to invest in IMO is Joe Walsh (not related to Connor), currently a soloist who has been with the Company since 2007. He is a polished, elegant performer who can also do lightning fast petite allegro and has such an interesting quality of moving. I've seen him dance very nicely in both classical and contemporary works, and I really feel he has more long-term potential than Connor.

I was very impressed with Joseph Walsh, too, in the same performance -- he had beautiful line and articulation -- but he didn't have to do the intricate partnering that Connor Walsh did, so it was harder to judge overall whether he'd be Principal material.

I'm starting to feel like one problem is that ABT's up-and-coming men tend to be on the shorter-to-medium height, while the female principals/soloists/guests are on the medium-to-tall side of the spectrum. Maybe ABT should bring more shorter guest ballerinas--like, say, Evgenia Obraztsova! I know this is a thread about the male dancers, but I would *love* to see her at ABT! (And maybe she can bring Ratmansky's "Cinderella" with her.) :wink:

This is Boal's conundrum in Seattle: the men are relatively short, and he's got a stable of tall women who flocked to PNB because Ariana Lallone, at nearly 6' tall, set the precedent. (For example: if Kiyon Gaines were six inches taller, companies around the world would be having bidding wars over him.) Of the eight dancers leaving, three were tall and key partners for the women: Jeffrey Stanton, Olivier Wevers, and Stanko Milov.

#68 ksk04

ksk04

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 482 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 08:33 PM

I just watched some videos of Vadm Muntagirov on YouTube. He seems to be very talented. It's not surprising he's developing a strong fanbase with ENB's audience. ABT would be very lucky to have him. But it does bring a thought in my head. I don't mind ABT inviting guest artist to perform a full season. But what would be the attitude of ballet companies across the world towards ABT if ABT start this massive shopping at scooping up other dancers from other companies? How would ABT be perceived by their company of peers? As a company who steals, or worst, a company that can't develop it's own natural talent in their own backyard? Either way it certainly wouldn't look all that favorable to ABT. In a way - without meaning too of course but with a cynical way at looking at things - they could be broadcasting to the ballet world their stable of dancers are rather weak. Something I don't think any ballet company wish to have as a reputation.



I agree--I don't think it's appropriate for ABT to cherry pick male principals from around the world (though I guess Kevin didn't care how this looked previously or it happened over a longer stretch so it was less noticeable). First of all, I think we can all agree ABT needs men who are able to make ABT their home--most of the candidates mentioned, I think (and perhaps I am presuming) would not do that, and why would they if they are a principal at the Bolshoi, for example, unless they truly wanted a dramatic change in their lives. The reason why Carreno, Ananiashvili, Ferri, and Bocca all felt like they were part of the home team though they were not homegrown is that they made ABT a priority...they toured with them, they danced in mixed bills at City Center, they were team players while retaining their foreign appeal.


If ABT is going to go on a world wide mission, they'd be best served by pursuing someone like Sarabia, who has no company ties OR they could go the route of Simkin and get a younger soloist who they can mold into a principal. This is riskier as obviously a lot of us are still reticent about Simkin being made a principal right now (or as with Veronika Part, she blossomed later than maybe was hoped for by everyone), but in this way they actually BECOME part of the company.


Moreover though, I agree with everyone who says Kevin is the biggest obstacle in making ABT and its dancers successful right now. He clearly has a taste for the most obvious flashy thing, and can't see much beyond that.

#69 spinning2night

spinning2night

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 08:50 PM

Even though Stella and Sascha are good friends of Stiefel's, I really can't see them jumping ship, but I wouldn't be surprised if they guested and worked with Stiefel/NZ for better opportunities. Both of them have guested in productions across the country as well as the world, and I get the sense that both of them want to share what they love with the world and take these opportunities in stride. The two of them have stuck around at ABT this long already, I think it would take A LOT to keep them away.
That being said, in regards to Stella's status in ABT not being changed, that is a likely possibility since as every year passes that door closes more and more. However, she is the soloist (male OR female) who has shown that she is most ready for a promotion, and an opportunity like this one that could work in her favor...hopefully, Kevin pays attention this time around. Although with the number of corps to soloist promotions Kevin has made in the last 2 years...i'd like to think a promotion to principal is about happen, and most (both here at BA and around other blogs/sites) agree that it should be Stella (crossing my fingers!)...although this does nothing for the issue at hand, which is the male roster at ABT as a whole...

#70 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,251 posts

Posted 04 July 2011 - 10:11 PM

...or that Reyes used to dance Odette/Odile and no longer can at ABT.


Really...? Why not...? :dunno:

#71 Amour

Amour

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 225 posts

Posted 05 July 2011 - 12:28 AM

Danil said, in a video interview with Pointe magazine, that he is 25.

#72 Simon G

Simon G

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 564 posts

Posted 05 July 2011 - 02:15 AM

I just watched some videos of Vadm Muntagirov on YouTube. He seems to be very talented. It's not surprising he's developing a strong fanbase with ENB's audience. ABT would be very lucky to have him. But it does bring a thought in my head. I don't mind ABT inviting guest artist to perform a full season. But what would be the attitude of ballet companies across the world towards ABT if ABT start this massive shopping at scooping up other dancers from other companies? How would ABT be perceived by their company of peers? As a company who steals, or worst, a company that can't develop it's own natural talent in their own backyard? Either way it certainly wouldn't look all that favorable to ABT. In a way - without meaning too of course but with a cynical way at looking at things - they could be broadcasting to the ballet world their stable of dancers are rather weak. Something I don't think any ballet company wish to have as a reputation.



GBF,

A good question and one which Monica Mason is most qualified to answer, as you've just summed up the Royal Ballet's artistic policy pretty succinctly.

#73 Mashinka

Mashinka

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,184 posts

Posted 05 July 2011 - 04:23 AM



I just watched some videos of Vadm Muntagirov on YouTube. He seems to be very talented. It's not surprising he's developing a strong fanbase with ENB's audience. ABT would be very lucky to have him. But it does bring a thought in my head. I don't mind ABT inviting guest artist to perform a full season. But what would be the attitude of ballet companies across the world towards ABT if ABT start this massive shopping at scooping up other dancers from other companies? How would ABT be perceived by their company of peers? As a company who steals, or worst, a company that can't develop it's own natural talent in their own backyard? Either way it certainly wouldn't look all that favorable to ABT. In a way - without meaning too of course but with a cynical way at looking at things - they could be broadcasting to the ballet world their stable of dancers are rather weak. Something I don't think any ballet company wish to have as a reputation.



GBF,

A good question and one which Monica Mason is most qualified to answer, as you've just summed up the Royal Ballet's artistic policy pretty succinctly.


I agree. Having read this thread from the start ABT's male dancer problem reflects the RB situation exactly. Here in London the main stars Acosta and Kobborg won't be dancing for ever but the selection process is appalling with laughable imports. Mason has no eye for male dancers at all whereas over at ENB Wayne Eagling quickly recognized the outstanding talent of Vadim Muntagirov and has just added young virtuoso Yonah Acosta (nephew of you-know-who) to his impressive male contingent. The RB has one male dancer who could dance leading roles tomorrow: Brian Maloney (an American I think) with a couple of others looking interesting but not getting roles, a situation that reveals a shocking lack of discernment on Mason’s part.

As someone that only gets to watch ABT on their infrequent visits I adore Cornejo and was extremely taken by Cory Stearns. Take Muntagirov if you must, but leave him be for another couple of seasons please.

#74 rg

rg

    Emeralds Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,446 posts

Posted 05 July 2011 - 06:11 AM

my sense of the unwritten rules of one company's acquiring another's dancer(s) is that there is no out-and-out 'stealing' etc. that the former co. however much it might like another's talent waits for that talent to show an interest in leaving and/or comes to audition at which point a contract can be offered.
i don't suppose anyone ever really speaks on the record of this situation, though most companies seem to keep on fairly good terms with one another.

#75 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,225 posts

Posted 05 July 2011 - 08:48 AM

That makes sense. In a way, most dancers that aren't civil servants and pretty much have guaranteed jobs until the mandatory retirement age, are perpetual free agents, because they are working on short, usually one-year contracts, so they have a right to make contact with other companies for their next year's employment and/or guest contracts.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):