bingham

Roster Changes at ABT

543 posts in this topic

I'm definitely trying to see the positives of this large group of promotions, but I also just realized that this group of promotions only covers the expected departures for this year and next (4 soloists -- Kristi, Yuriko, Jared, and Sacha at the end of this year, 1 principal -- Paloma in 2015). One could argue also that Maria Ricetto and Simone Messmer's departures have yet to covered (Boylston covered one temporarily but with her promotion to principal, both of those roster spots are now "open" again)...these promotions are the "immediate fix," but it still doesn't help the company long term.

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, the current core of principals and soloists who carry the weight of the Met season are aging, and there will be a point when they won't be able to dance the full repertoire (we've already seen that this year...ABT is short of dancers who are available to cover all roles if there are injuries/medical issues).

I personally have always found it odd that the company doesn't have more soloists dancing principal roles throughout the season/or at least prepared to be scheduled when there are injuries. It causes a cycle of sub-par performances due to fatigue or lack of preparation coupled with the risk of injuring MORE dancers due to the increased workload (in this regard, Marcelo really has been a god the past few seasons...) Obviously, the company tried to cover the holes in the roster with regards of workload with the planned and scheduled guest artists, but at the same time, when so many of the performances/principal castings have at least 1-2 guests for each week of the Met season, those guest dancers who have other commitments are also not available at short notice to cover roles as they aren't based in NYC...

It will be interesting to see if the company makes a move to have soloists (and perhaps even corps) dancers occupy principal roles during the Met season. That being said, if that move is made, it will be long overdue. ABT has lost several solid and good soloists who should have long ago gotten these chances as they were more than deserving. (Joseph, Yuriko, Jared, Simone, and one could argue Maria. With Sascha, I feel like he still has a few good years left, but he also sought out Flesh & Bone as a reason to push up his retirement from ABT because of his lack of opportunity within the company -- that's SIX quality dancers, who other companies have snapped up in under two years!!!) To be completely honest, those individuals' talents were often ignored and taken for granted in the last 5-7 years, and the stubbornness (and dare I say, snobbiness) of the company to insist on casting "stars" rather than their own talent has now become a detriment on an even larger scale. Hopefully, this year's roster movement in the soloist rank has been a wake-up call, and we'll start/continue seeing changes and progress in the artistic direction of "America's national ballet company" for the betterment and benefit of the dancers and fans alike.

Share this post


Link to post

My published online comment in response to the announcement of Isabella Boylston's promotion to Principal Dancer

"It is mind-boggling to me that Isabella Boylston has been promoted to principal dancer above Stella Abrera! I've seen it coming because Ms. Boylston has been given the opportunity to dance principal roles. However, Ms. Abrera is a far better dancer, more classical, more lyrical, more graceful, more arresting on stage, and it is a great injustice that she hasn't been given the same opportunities as Ms. Boylston. What this means is that Ms. Boylston is going to be cast in roles that I, and many others, have waited for years to see Ms. Abrera perform. This may be enough for me to cancel my patron level membership as well as my ABT subscriptions. The last straw is that Jared Matthews and Yuriko Kajiya are leaving ABT because of lack of promotion. I saw Ms. Kajiya in the dress rehearsal of The Tempest today and she was magnificent. The Board of Trustees should be on its hands and knees begging them both to stay."

  • As for another technically competent dancer to dance the entire repertoire, there is always Semionova.

Share this post


Link to post

Everyone knew Boylston's promotion was on the horizon. Personally, I'm not a fan. Her stiff port de bras bothers me, as well as her scraggly fingers. I also don't find her dancing graceful nor her acting having any depth. But the AD McKenzie and professional ballet reviewers see something in her that I don't. I am also sad that Abrera wasn't afforded the same oppurtunities. I feel like she should have been poised to be the next principal. She is already a principal in my opinion, just stuck for whatever reason dancing soloist parts. But alas...

Congratulations to the dancers. Shevchenko's promotion comes as a bit of surprise for me, but she is a lovely, graceful dancer. I hope these new soloists aren't stuck in these positions for years to come, not developed, and passed over for guest artists like the soloist whom have left us and are leaving us. Highly unlikely but one can only hope.

Share this post


Link to post

Sterling Baca replaced Forster in Gomes' After effect at the KC this spring. Baca was fantastic.

Share this post


Link to post

I did not see After Effect, but I agree that Baca is fantastic.

Share this post


Link to post

Do not post any news about dancers (or rep or any other ballet-related issue) until the news comes from an official source. This is not new.

Share this post


Link to post

According to Rosalie O'Connor's Facebook posts, it looks as if Kristi Boone Stappas and Kelly Boyd are leaving ABT, and Nicola Curry is leaving for the Australian Ballet,

Share this post


Link to post

I checked Kristi Boone Stappas' public Facebook page. The cover photo shows that she and Isaac Stappas recently welcomed into the family a new daughter - less than six months old. So Kristi has been on maternity leave which would explain her non-appearance for the entire Spring/Summer Met season. Kristi and Isaac also have a ballet studio where they teach: http://www.kristiboone.com/biography/

Share this post


Link to post

ABT's website has been updated w/ promotions and other roster changes.

Ivan Vasiliev is no longer listed as a principal. Not a surprise to many of us I'm sure.

Share this post


Link to post

Here's the link to the ABT roster, which is in such an annoying format:

http://www.abt.org/dancers/default.asp

It's so nice to see Isabella Boylston's photo on the first (Principals) page.

I'm surprised to see Bolle still listed, though, considering how little he dances in NY.

Share this post


Link to post

Looks as though Jessica Saund has been removed from the roster. I don't recall seeing her all of 2014, wonder where she went.

Share this post


Link to post

ABT has added some new dancers to the trainee roster. They have all come from the Studio Company: Lauren Bonfiglio, Scout Forsythe, Courtlyn Hanson, Emily Hayes, Connor Holloway, and Raphael Spyker. I've seen some video's of Scout Forsythe on Youtube and she is a lovely dancer.

Share this post


Link to post

ABT has added some new dancers to the trainee roster. They have all come from the Studio Company: Lauren Bonfiglio, Scout Forsythe, Courtlyn Hanson, Emily Hayes, Connor Holloway, and Raphael Spyker. I've seen some video's of Scout Forsythe on Youtube and she is a lovely dancer.

What beautiful long arms and legs! Her proportions remind me of Veronika Part's, though I suspect she is rather shorter.

Share this post


Link to post

Kathyrn Boren has joined the Corps from Boston Ballet (she is now on the website). Wondering if anyone in the corps left. I can't keep track.

Share this post


Link to post

New to corps or apprentice : Lauren Bonfiglio, Kathyrn Boren, Scout Forysthe, Raphael Spyker, Courtlyn Hanson, Emily Hayes, Connor Holloway, Rachel Richardson, Marshall Whiteley, Jin Zhang.

No longer on roster: Kelly Boyd, Jessica Saund, and as previously reported Eric Tamm, Nicola Curry, Luis Ribagorda.

All but one of 2014 apprentices joined the corps.

Total head count 92: 16 principals, 9 soloists, 61 corps, 6 apprentices.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks mussel.

Nicola Curry is now listed as a Corps member at Australian Ballet

Share this post


Link to post

I wonder why Nicola left ABT's corp to be a member of Australia's corp.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, the climate is better, the air is cleaner and the Australian Ballet offered her a coryphée position, so she isn't stuck at the very bottom. On the other hand, we can all see how easy it is to advance out of ABT's corps. dry.png

Share this post


Link to post

I thought I recalled reading that Curry was getting married to an Australian.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, the climate is better, the air is cleaner and the Australian Ballet offered her a coryphée position, so she isn't stuck at the very bottom. On the other hand, we can all see how easy it is to advance out of ABT's corps. dry.png

Oh okay I see. Nice to see she has a slightly better position. I was a bit confused on why she would leave one corp to join another instead of leaving for some sort of upgrade elsewhere. And wow, had no idea she was getting married to an Aussie. And that last bit is very true indeed.

Share this post


Link to post

Does Maria Kotchekova know something we don't? On her twitter it says "Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet and ABT": https://twitter.com/balletrusse

All the whining and moaning about Misty Copeland possibly being promoted, perhaps Maria will be announced as one of the newest principals of ABT this upcoming season?

Share this post


Link to post

Why would the addition of Kochetkova foreclose the promotion of Misty. Both events can occur.

Share this post


Link to post

Why would the addition of Kochetkova foreclose the promotion of Misty. Both events can occur.

I never said it would.

Share this post


Link to post

Does Maria Kotchekova know something we don't? On her twitter it says "Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet and ABT": https://twitter.com/balletrusse

Sounds like she does. She scooped ABT. But like abatt said, that certainly doesn't mean Misty won't be promoted.

Share this post


Link to post

I wouldn't be surprised. With Reyes' retirement, ABT is in need of a pint-sized ballerina who can be lifted by Simkin, Cornejo and Gorak. (Even Sarah Lane, if she were treated more favorably by the AD, couldn't do this alone.) I'd love to see Gorak take on Solor and Siegfried, but I can't really imagine him doing so with a ballerina of Boylston's or Copeland's proportions. Kochetkova makes Gelsey Kirkland look downright womanly by comparison.

I don't think the Misty fervor can last forever, but maybe it makes sense for ABT to promote her at this point. Her fame can perhaps sustain good ticket sales for the eight years or so of dancing she still has left in her (based on the career length of most dancers). ABT won't be left with several awkward years of less-than-stellar sales and waning interest, as they were with Herrera, a brilliant dancer whose star shone most brightly in her early years.

I think many of us believe that ABT is going to go through a fallow period over the next few years until the new generation of dancers takes the reigns (and perhaps new management redirects the company's course). Maybe Misty is just a natural part of that slump and will do her part to bolster the company financially and help it weather questionable artistic times. I think I can actually come to terms with that scenario.

Share this post


Link to post