bart

Transitioning from Villella to Lopez in 2012-2013.

90 posts in this topic

In the previous thread abut this transition, leibling and others stress what I think of as the communal aspect of MCB

The interesting thing to remember is that Villella hired all of them... and in that sense did help to create the supportive camaraderie that exists in the company.

and I would like to mention to Lopez's credit that she reveals in a DancePulp

her own appreciation for the "family" aspect of Balanchine's company (around 02:30), remarking that that's gone now. To me, that bodes very well for the survival and vitality of MCB; whether Lopez's aesthetic is interesting or rewarding remains to be seen, as far as I'm concerned. (She says, around 05:50, companies need to "morph" after the founder goes; and her remarks in a promotional video for Metamorphoses worry me a lot in that regard.)

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This may have been mentioned....not sure, but the Kravis Center booklet has a "Steven Caras introduces Miami City Ballet's Next Superstar Lourdes Lopez" event listed for Monday, January 14 at 11:30am. It will be an "intimate conversation" with her. I thought people would be interested in this info.

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Thanks for mentioning that. This event -- technically a a lunch and learn -- has a lot of potential for generating interest and good will for MCB. Caras is a natural as a presenter and producer. He can create a feeling of intimacy even with a large audience. Caras was a Balanchine dancer (and Balanchine's protege as a dance photographer). He knows and values MCB and its rep. He knows Lopez and Villella. He knows and has worked with big donors.

I'm looking forward to this almost as much as to the season itself.

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...

I'm looking forward to this almost as much as to the season itself.

When the time comes, post a report, bart!

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Pointe Magazine has tweeted that Edward Vilella is standing down today (4th September).

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This strikes me as the only sane thing to do.

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Thanks, california, for those links. Even thought this development has been expected, reading each comment in sequence, just as you have posted them -- renews my own feelings of sadness and loss Moving down here from New York 11 years ago and discovering a company like this, with a repertory like this, and dancers like this, was beyond anything I could have dreamt or wished for. Everything about MCB has been Villella's creation, and he has done this from scratch. As you say:

I wish this transition could have occurred more gracefully.

Villella's statements in the MCB press release are elegant and admirable. He was a champion boxer in college, so it's good to see that he hasn't forgotten how to roll with the punches. Although I would have wished he had a few more years at the helm, it's good to see him accepting the inevitable and moving on. I hope that the return to New York brings Villella new opportunities, and the chance to enjoy his position as a genuine national and international icon of dance. Looking at the remarkable achievements of his (former) company, especially in the last two years, it is clear that Villella still has a great deal to give to the art form that he has served so long. He leaves at the top of his game, in many ways. And he leaves -- despite nonspecific stories of legal issues still to be resolved -- with class.

In the meantime, our hopes rest on Lourdes Lopez, who has a lot on her plate -- a world-class company to run, a ready-made season (planned by the man she is replacing) to put on, a school to run until she can find someone to replace Linda Villella, a Board that still seems divided or possibly confused as to what kind of company it (a) wants and (b) thinks possible. She also has to plan the 2013-14 season, keeping all the divergent factions happy or at least on board.

I hope the Villella achievement and vision will be preserved, preferably with better financial management. But I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

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... And he leaves -- despite nonspecific stories of legal issues still to be resolved -- with class.

In the meantime, our hopes rest on Lourdes Lopez, who has a lot on her plate -- a world-class company to run, a ready-made season (planned by the man she is replacing) to put on, a school to run until she can find someone to replace Linda Villella, a Board that still seems divided or possibly confused as to what kind of company it (a) wants and (b) thinks possible. She also has to plan the 2013-14 season, keeping all the divergent factions happy or at least on board.

I hope the Villella achievement and vision will be preserved, preferably with better financial management. But I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Not to disagree one jot with any of that about Villella and Lopez, but I also have some hopes for Michael Kaiser to find some way for them to achieve that "better financial management". Yes, we'll have to wait and see what happens - when the curtain goes up!

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[ ... ] but I also have some hopes for Michael Kaiser to find some way for them to achieve that "better financial management".

Let's hope this helps. The terms of the agreement, at last as released to the press, seem rather weak as to specifics.

Has the sudden and early departure of Nicholas Goldsborough -- a Kaiser ally, one would think, based on his resume -- ever been explained?

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NIcholas Goldsborough's letter to the Miami Herald, correcting those who think that Villella was inflexible about cost-cutting.

http://www.miamihera...ami-ballet.html

A glowing and (it seems to me) quite deserved appreciation of Villella's role at MCB, by Jordan Levin. It's posted on the MCB Facebook page, so I've linked it from there.

http://www.miamihera...mi-and-the.html

The following is especially well put.

In rehearsal, he often seemed less elegant classicist than the boxer he was as a teenager, when his truck-driver father made him quit ballet and Villella took out his frustrations in the ring. He'd prowl MCB's soaring main studio, a stalking, crouching figure among the lithe dancers, bouncing on the balls of his feet, hands reaching as if to pull the dancing out of them. "C'mon!" he exhorted them at a rehearsal of Balanchine's Agon in 2000. "Energy! Go! Sharp! Attack! Go, go, go! Up! Up!" He always wanted more

He was just as demanding in the daily company classes he led. Ballet dancers never stop taking class, and it can make all the difference in whether they develop or stall. Villella understood that; the years he lost when his father pulled him out of dance put him at a disadvantage that he overcame with the help of teacher Stanley Williams.

The process requires a combination of analysis and physical understanding so deep it seems instinctual. MCB's dancers move the way they do largely because of Villella's class, which pushed them hard and in new ways. I remember him letting them loose in one class, the men trying to outdo each other in leaps and turns, the women in flying pirouettes and extensions, laughing, gritting their teeth and applauding each other. They didn't hold back.

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Thanks for those links, bart! (I got the same article with the third one as with the second just now, however.)

Villella often mentioned costs in his pre-performance talks, especially in answer to "Why don't you...?" questions, but it was never perfectly clear whether the concern originated with him or was imposed on him, although such an intelligent and balanced person as he seemed to be couldn't help but be aware, as Balanchine himself was: "My muse must come to me on union time." So it's good to have Goldsborough's testimony.

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I've been thinking about my experiences watching Lourdes Lopez dance at New York City Ballet. Balanchine promoted Lopez to principal only a year before we moved from NYC, but I do recall her in Firebird specifically, because this was one of the first Balanchine ballets I had ever seen, and I rarely forget a Firebird. She was dramatically commanding, technically strong, and quite wonderful.

Here's an interview with Lopez from TenduTV, filmed while she was still co-director of Morpheses.

CAREER SUMMARY: PIGEON TOES TO POINTE SHOES

ON BEING A BALANCHINE DANCER:

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The lack of filmed performance, especially of the New York City Ballet, really is frustrating.

I did a brief Google in search for videos of Lopez dancing, but so far have only found a guest appearance, with Jock Soto, dancing a snippet from Stars and Stripes. The choreography is explained by Big Bird as an opportunity to learn about "Up and Down." The dancers, possibly intimidated by the miniscule set and the limited time allowed them, are untypically stiff and low-wattage.

Villella was, among other things, a great showman. When he was performing, he was bursting with energy and passion for movement -- the same qualities that he tried, as a ballet master, to instil in his dancers.

What about Lopez? I wish I had a stronger visual and emotional memory of what she was like on stage. That unforgettable Firebird is, for me, the exception. Does anyone have memories that they can share?

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"In Balanchine's Classroom project" has just posted a photo of Villella coaching Jeanette Delgado and Kleber Rebello in (I assume from the tamborine) "Tarantella" to its Facebook Page:

The post reads,

To Edward Villella,

In celebration of all you have given the world through your dancing, your teaching, and your leadership at Miami City Ballet and the Miami City Ballet School... Thank you!

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The lack of filmed performance, especially of the New York City Ballet, really is frustrating.

I did a brief Google in search for videos of Lopez dancing, but so far have only found a guest appearance, with Jock Soto, dancing a snippet from Stars and Stripes. The choreography is explained by Big Bird as an opportunity to learn about "Up and Down." The dancers, possibly intimidated by the miniscule set and the limited time allowed them, are untypically stiff and low-wattage.

Villella was, among other things, a great showman. When he was performing, he was bursting with energy and passion for movement -- the same qualities that he tried, as a ballet master, to instil in his dancers.

What about Lopez? I wish I had a stronger visual and emotional memory of what she was like on stage. That unforgettable Firebird is, for me, the exception. Does anyone have memories that they can share?

I found her doing I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise from Who Cares? at a little past the 33 min. mark at this link -

http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/9A19-O6Iehw . It's the Live from Lincoln Center broadcast of the Balanchine Celebration. I'll leave the commentary to you folks. I don't think I ever got to see her live.

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with Jock Soto - and Elmo and Zoey - teaching cooperation. I'm advised that the choreography is by Christopher Wheeldon. There's also a (very poor quality)
- as narrated by The Count. Not sure these really give a good sense of the dancer she was, but there you have it.

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That 1993 Balanchine Celebration was released on VHS (Nonesuch, The Balanchine Library).

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Sorry to interrupt the discussion of Lopez as dancer, but here's a bit of followup on the sub- topic as concerns MCI's finances ...

Earlier in this thread, I asked whether anyone knew the reasons for Nicholas Goldsborough's precipitous departure from the Executive Director job in June. While Googling Jonah Pruitt -- MCB's former chief financial officer, and now interim Executive Director -- I found this July 5 story in the Palm Beach Daily News.

http://www.palmbeach...let-lead/nPmjx/

The board was not dissatisfied with Goldsborough’s performance as executive director, said longtime major donor Mike Eidson, a former president and chairman of the board of governors. “It’s cost restructuring,” he said.

Other administrative cost-reductions were put into effect at the same time. Dancers and programming were not directly affected.

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