tutu

New Dancers, 2014 season

49 posts in this topic

In an interview with Time Out New York, beloved ABT soloist Simone Messmer announced she'd be joining SFB for the upcoming season:

Time Out New York: What rank are you going in as?
Simone Messmer:
Soloist. Their rep is great. There’s all the Balanchine, a lot of new choreographers, which always works well for me, and enough full-lengths that there will be time to work on them. I have 13 weeks of rehearsal. Actual rehearsal!

Time Out New York: Did you audition for other companies?
Simone Messmer:
No. I looked at the rep. I looked at who was running the company. I looked at the staff and in all honesty, I’m a New Yorker. I do not want to live in many other places, so San Francisco was the one place. I sent a small reel; they called me when I was in Beijing and said, “Come now.” I ended up flying from Beijing straight to San Francisco. And because Beijing’s pollution is so bad, my wisdom tooth got infected; I ended up having emergency oral surgery and having two teeth removed and my jaw scraped 12 hours before my audition. The dentist was like, “Don’t move for two weeks.” I was like, “Okay.” [Laughs] So I did my audition 12 hours later on only ibuprofen. I looked like I had been punched in the face. I couldn’t talk. I was like a chipmunk. It was the worst-case scenario. And 17 hours of jet lag on top of everything.

She also mentioned several more dancers joining the company, though not by name. Have any other announcements been made?

It’s funny: I think there’s a soloist from the Paris Opera going to San Francisco. And a boy soloist from the Bolshoi.

Regardless, you're lucky, SF! Messmer's a very special dancer.

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Hi Tutu, yes this is being talked about in a couple of different threads - Mathilde Froustey of POB is the other known dancer, but the reference to the Bolshoi danseur hasn't been confirmed that I know of. Froustey will be a principal, Messmer will have to make do with a Soloist rank for now.

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/37425-simone-messmer-abt-soloist-leaving-to-san-francisco/

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/37402-mathilde-froustey-pob-sujet-changing-companies/

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This is great news for San Francisco Ballet.

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Part of what I'm learning from all this is that SFB seems to be making a bigger impression on the community of dancers - more than ever before. Dancers in Europe, Great Britain, Australia, even Russia, actually seem to have it on their list of desirable companies. Tomasson isn't having to 'shop around' and go begging - the dancers are coming to him. And most dancers seem to say that it is the diversity of the company and the diversity of the repertory that is most attractive.

And we can add: very little in the way of soap-opera relationships and politics at SFB, which has to appeal to some.

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So it is official. I'm curious about Zagrebin of course - Has anyone seen him dance? The politics of acquiring anyone from Bolshoi/Russia have to be daunting. I wonder how it all came about...

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Dmitriy Zagrebin will come from the Bolshoi Ballet, where he's not listed on the website.

This past season Zagrebin actually danced at the Stanislavsky Theater.

http://www.stanmus.com/person.html?id=928

But a few months ago he, Steven McRae and Svetlana Zakharova performed a piece by Johan Kobborg at a gala marking Zakharova's 10th anniversary with the Bolshoi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfbXl9SOf9k

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Dmitriy Zagrebin will come from the Bolshoi Ballet, where he's not listed on the website.

This past season Zagrebin actually danced at the Stanislavsky Theater.

http://www.stanmus.com/person.html?id=928

But a few months ago he, Steven McRae and Svetlana Zakharova performed a piece by Johan Kobborg at a gala marking Zakharova's 10th anniversary with the Bolshoi.

We can count on Volcanohunter to find some good Russian videos. ;)

That first video was a blast - I applaud Zakharova for getting outside her comfort zone and doing something new and different. I love the Chaplinesque quality of that routine - McRae is amazing, and Zagrebin held up his end well. HIs leaps and spins are quite impressive. Something about his expressiveness is unusual - different from most other Russian danseurs.

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Many thanks, volcanohunter!

Now, if Helgi Tomasson could get McRae to sign a contract... (Feet like knives.)

I wish SFB wouldn't erase the Stanislavsky to push the Bolshoi.

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After watching that video, I have to think there are 30 companies standing in line, wanting a piece of McRae. I agree that the Stanislavsky needs to be mentioned in this deal. But who knows what has to happen to "borrow" a Russian dancer for a while.

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Aw shucks.

Yes, if Zagrebin is coming from the Stanislavsky, SFB should say so. And they can add that previously he'd been a soloist of the Bolshoi. In Igor Zelensky's shoes I'd be a little ticked off. He loses a dancer, and his company doesn't get any acknowledgement in exchange.

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Is Zagrebin friends with Zakharova from Bolshoi days?

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I have no idea. But when Johan Kobborg came to the Bolshoi in 2008 to stage La Sylphide, Zagrebin danced in his first-act pas de six. Perhaps it was on the basis of that experience that Kobborg believed Zagrebin would be suitable for a virtuosic trio for Zakharova and two short men.

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One thing that Christopher Stowell's early resignation did was to allow any dancers who wanted to leave the company to contact/audition for other companies in the winter-spring contract time.

Given Stowell's long-time tenure and prominence with San Francisco Ballet, I'm not surprised that some of the OBT dancers would find it a hospitable company. Rowe surely knows it well: her OBT bio says that she spent a year at SFB's school (after ten at CPYB), before she joined OBT in 2008. (Often the bio pages are kept on the site, even if the links to them from the dancer roster pages are removed.)

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Some really lovely clips of Shibley collected here:

and of Rowe here:

Looks like both have a fair amount of soloist and principal experience.

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Nice - and long! Quite long. I actually get some sense of the person from the backstage shots.

I've been wishing that SFB would alter their video style to incorporate longer sequences, and both rehearsal and performance footage.

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The list of graduate contracts has been published in the RBS Linbury performances programme. I see from this that Esteban Hernandez is joining SFB.

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Yes, he is. Esteban posted that he was "looking for either a studio or a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco for moving in on the 15th of July" on his Facebook wall.

San Francisco Ballet is going to have an exciting new look this coming season, I think!

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New dancers (8) comprise a little over 11% of the 70-dancer roster. That doesn't included apprentices, who are all new, or the five dancers who were promoted from apprentice to corps de ballet.

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Congratulations and welcome to the newcomers, and we'll miss the ones who have left.

Does anyone know where Nicole Ciapponi has gone? She was one of my favorites in the corp.


No longer on the roster

Principal:
Pierre Francois Vilanoba
Vito Mazzeo

Soloists:
Elana Altman - taking a Masters at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy (Italian food and Italian scenery vs. blisters and sore muscles.)
Courtney Elizabeth

Garen Scribner

Corp:
Nicole Ciapponi
Charlene Cohen
Madison Keesler - to English National Ballet
Mariellen Olson
Sebastian Vinet
Shion Yuasa


New to the Company for 2014:

Principal:
Mathilde Froustey

Soloists:
Simone Messmer
Dmitry Zagrebin

Corp:
Isabella deVivo
Esteban Hernandez
Alexandra Meyer-Lorey
Lauren Parrott
Julia Rowe
Emma Rubinowitz
Grace Shibley
Wei Wang

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Gasp! Gasp! All this news to digest! Wow. Didn't see this thread early last week, when I was hunting around, looking to see if a 2014 roster had been posted. Now I've got a veritable treasure trove of information. Thanks, all. Can't wait to click some of these links.

I feel the inevitable vicarious pangs for those dancers let go. I know that's the nature of the beast, but I still hate it. So glad Madison Keesler got ENB - what an exciting place that surely will be this year, with Tamara Rojo at the helm and now Alina Cojocaru officially on board. I'm wondering where Charlene Cohen went off to. It seemed she was being given demi-soloist roles this past season; sorry to see her leaving rather than promoted. But then again, they've promoted several of their female corps dancers to soloists in the past year (at least four, maybe five?) and surely with so many new-ish soloists, they're the ones who will dance those roles. And Helgi likes to try out corps dancers in those roles, as well. Just makes me sad, tho, to see a corps dancer tested for bigger things, only to be pulled from the roster a year later.

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Shion Yuasa went to Tulsa Ballet. PFV retired. Garen Scribner will be at NDT. Vito Mazzeo is now with Dutch National Ballet. Sebastian Vinet is back in Chile (per Facebook).

I, too, wonder about Nicole Ciapponi and Charlene Cohen. Both were featured heavily over the past two years.

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