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Transitioning from Villella to Lopez in 2012-2013.-- developments, challenges, opportunties


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#31 JMcN

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:15 AM

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

#32 cahill

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:27 AM

Here is the press release

http://www.miamicity....php?NewsID=364

#33 Helene

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:42 AM

This strikes me as the only sane thing to do.

#34 California

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:24 AM

This just appeared in the on-line Washington Post:

http://www.washingto...8849_story.html

I wish this transition could have occurred more gracefully.

#35 California

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:13 AM

Pointe Magazine just expanded a bit on the press release:

http://pointemagazin...sudden-exit-mcb

#36 California

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:40 AM

Much more detail in the New York Times:

http://artsbeat.blog...y-ballet-early/

And more here. Looks like one of the trustees has decided to leave immediately, too:
http://www.tri-cityh...let-sooner.html

#37 bart

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 05:09 PM

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.

#38 Jack Reed

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:18 PM

... 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!

#39 bart

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:26 AM

[ ... ] 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?

#40 bart

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:26 PM

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.


Read more here: http://www.miamihera...l#storylink=cpy



#41 Jack Reed

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 04:04 PM

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.

#42 checkwriter

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 04:48 AM

On a lighter note is this local TV news report of Villella's departure; in perhaps no other US city would his name be (mis)pronounced "Vee-yay-ya."

#43 bart

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:43 AM

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:


#44 Helene

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:49 AM

I think "Firebird" was her best role.

#45 bart

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 04:18 PM

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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