bingham

Roster Changes at ABT

543 posts in this topic

But even now: Cornejo, Part, Semionova, Vasiliev, Bolle, Simkin, Vishneva -- all came from other companies to join ABT.

Cornejo came in 1998, Part in 2002, Visheneva around 2004 but has never left the Mariinsky. Simkin came maybe in 2008, Bolle in 2007 (and in reality is just a guest artist. He does gigs all around the world most of the year and seems to do many more performances with La Scala than with ABT though he's not officially part of the company ). Vasiliev is gone. Semionova came around 2010 but many wonder if she will come back now that Malakhov (and his ban on her) is gone. And Simkin? He's been given exactly 1 lead role this season (the Saturday matinee of SL with Boylston). Will he return, given all the gigs and galas he does? I somehow doubt it. No, I don't think at this point, ABT is a destination company. Yes, it was for decades. Now, it is just a mess. And promoting the unworthy and ignoring good dancers has hurt them immeasurably.

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I count 67 corps members on the roster, including anyone who is leaving at the end of the season. Of them:

  • 1 went from Studio Company->Apprentice->Boston Ballet->ABT corps
  • 1 went from ABT corps->Washington Ballet and other projects->ABT corps
  • 12 went from other companies -- Australian Ballet/Dutch National Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Bocca Ballet, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Royal Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Semperoper, Corella, Ballet Internationale -- to ABT corps

21% came/rejoined from other companies

  • 9 joined as apprentices without having danced with another company
  • 2 joined as corps without having danced wit another company
  • 1 went from the Harvard Ballet company to ABT corps

18% came from training/competitions to ABT

The rest -- 61% -- joined the Studio Company/ABT II. Some trained at the JKO School.

Once ABT created this program, their stats for corps are more like the stats for other companies that have schools or second companies programs that regularly feed into their companies, with the possible exception of NYCB. The schools/second companies can't get the best students if they can't offer at least the best entry into the company.

There have been six dancers who went from NYCB to PNB, but that was a special case of the AD leaving the mother ship, and by now, since Peter Boal has been gone long enough that his youngest students would have graduated. Peter Martins was about to/had just promoted Carla Korbes and Seth Orza to Soloist when they joined PNB, Korbes as a Soloist and Orza to the corps. (Each rose quickly.) Ricard Orza had left ballet altogether. Renko, Lin-Yee, and Ricard Orza joined as corps, and Lin-Yee and Ricard Orza have become soloists. Miranda Weese was first a guest artist and then joined as Principal Dancer.

You just don't hear about that many NYCB corps members going to dance elsewhere, especially at the beginning of their careers, unless there's a great opportunity, like a long-running Tharp show, like Benjamin Bowman took.

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I'm too lazy to look this up, but don't NYCB dancers have year-round contracts (i.e. no layoff) and superior compensation at all ranks? Quite a few of their principals/soloists perform rarely and in severely limited roles: I can't imagine all of them are thrilled with their careers either. They would simply have a greater financial incentive to stick around while preparing for their next move.

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I'm too lazy to look this up, but don't NYCB dancers have year-round contracts (i.e. no layoff) and superior compensation at all ranks? Quite a few of their principals/soloists perform rarely and in severely limited roles: I can't imagine all of them are thrilled with their careers either. They would simply have a greater financial incentive to stick around while preparing for their next move.

Unless a dancer is injured, I am not aware of any NYCB principals who do not perform regularly or are only cast in limited roles. Like all ballet companies, NYCB has their share of injuries which prevent dancers from performing. Jennie Somogyi and Ana Sophia Scheller both returned this past Spring season after being out with injuries. And as everyone knows, two principal dancers are currently on leave performing in Broadway shows.

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And it's one thing for ABT to be a destination company for principals and soloists, as Helene's data shows that it still is. But is it as much of a draw for corps dancers from outside? (I don't know -- genuine question.) And in thinking about the term "feeder" company, I have in mind what's happened to a lot of promising soloists whom we've seen leave in recent years. Dancers who have risen up from corps to soloists, gotten stuck, and left. I'd be curious to know whether that trend has increased over time, or if it's just always been a part of what happens and I've only recently become more aware of it.

Good observation nanushka as I feel likewise all these years, after missing Matthews, Kajiya and Messmer to name a few, fortunately they have stuck with doing what they love and finally got to where they should have been with the ABT. I really hope the trend will not increase, as we have lost so many of our favorites already, I hope they will wake up and not let the talents get stuck, or I am almost certain this trend will continue in the worse way. Let's not forget Stella again!!!

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Removing my last response because it could potentially hurt feelings.

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Good observation nanushka as I feel likewise all these years, after missing Matthews, Kajiya and Messmer to name a few, fortunately they have stuck with doing what they love and finally got to where they should have been with the ABT. I really hope the trend will not increase, as we have lost so many of our favorites already, I hope they will wake up and not let the talents get stuck, or I am almost certain this trend will continue in the worse way. Let's not forget Stella again!!!

Joseph Phillips is another who has, reportedly, done great work elsewhere.

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Joseph Phillips is another who has, reportedly, done great work elsewhere.

Indeed nanushka and forgive me to miss so many names too, Maria Riccetto comes to mind now too, I am glad to see how well she has done going back to her home country. I genuinely hope, for the sake of the ABT, that they don't let talent get "stuck" and frustrated enough to continue this trend. We are all seeing many young talents currently in the company, I do hope they spend the money and time to nurture what they have.

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I have been impressed by Christine Shevchenko in her soloist roles this season. She has a pliancy of the upper body that gives her dancing great fluidity. Does anyone know if she trained in Russia before coming to the US or at any point in her life, because I find that Russian training emphasizes pliancy of the upper body more than any other school.

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In her ABT bio, it is mentioned that after moving to the USA at the age of 8, she trained at the Rock school in Philadelphia for 7-8 years.

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Talking of upper body pliancy, why doesn't American ballet school emphasized this in their training?

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Perhaps many American teachers do not know how to teach the carriage of the upper body, usage of the arms and the focus of the eyes as it is taught in various European and Russian schools. Being an American born and trained student, dancer and now teacher of the generation of the early 60's until now, I have rarely met American teachers who know how to teach the usage of the upper body as we see in those trained in Europe and specifically Russia. There are a few, but not many.

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Perhaps many American teachers do not know how to teach the carriage of the upper body, usage of the arms and the focus of the eyes as it is taught in various European and Russian schools. Being an American born and trained student, dancer and now teacher of the generation of the early 60's until now, I have rarely met American teachers who know how to teach the usage of the upper body as we see in those trained in Europe and specifically Russia. There are a few, but not many.

That is so surprising. No wonder, there is almost always something missing in the way American ballerinas dance. Should American schools import Russian or European teachers to correct this?Just wondering.

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In her ABT bio, it is mentioned that after moving to the USA at the age of 8, she trained at the Rock school in Philadelphia for 7-8 years.

I live next to the Rock School in Philly, and have been to their performances and had a chance to see a lot of their dancers. They have very high caliber students there and get fantastic training, so I'm not surprised Shevchenko has flourished.

Other Rock alum at ABT include two apprentices who just moved up to the corps (Rachel Richardson and Jin Zhang).

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I live next to the Rock School in Philly, and have been to their performances and had a chance to see a lot of their dancers. They have very high caliber students there and get fantastic training, so I'm not surprised Shevchenko has flourished.

Other Rock alum at ABT include two apprentices who just moved up to the corps (Rachel Richardson and Jin Zhang).

I have heard through the years that they do produce quite a few wonderful dancers for other companies. I have also heard that they do excel technically amoung other schools. I tend to agree after seeing a few of their students at one of the regional YAGP competitions a few years ago, however, it seems they show great skills with lots of tricks, and I have to agree that the audience loved it, but is that enough for an all round dancer? I would guess musicality or mime/expressions should be equally important? I am guilty when I say this too, as I do applaud great "tricks", but then I feel robbed when I see a dance showing wonderful technique without any change in emotions or expressions in certain roles.

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I have heard through the years that they do produce quite a few wonderful dancers for other companies. I have also heard that they do excel technically amoung other schools. I tend to agree after seeing a few of their students at one of the regional YAGP competitions a few years ago, however, it seems they show great skills with lots of tricks, and I have to agree that the audience loved it, but is that enough for an all round dancer? I would guess musicality or mime/expressions should be equally important? I am guilty when I say this too, as I do applaud great "tricks", but then I feel robbed when I see a dance showing wonderful technique without any change in emotions or expressions in certain roles.

Interesting, because I don't think of Shevchenko as fitting that description (lots of tricks with not much musicality or expression).

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Interesting, because I don't think of Shevchenko as fitting that description (lots of tricks with not much musicality or expression).

That is indeed good to hear, I was mostly just curious about the Rock school based on some comments on this feed. I have yet to see her perform this season, guess I was missing her cast. I hope to see her dance at tomorrow's performance and will certainly look for her in the program.

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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

Maria's twitter page now says she is a guest with ABT.

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Interesting, because I don't think of Shevchenko as fitting that description (lots of tricks with not much musicality or expression).

I'll second nanushka. Shevchenko has range: she was one of the dancers who really inhabited Symphony in C when ABT performed it a few years ago, and she has also looked great in character-driven parts in Ratmansky's ballets.

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I'll second nanushka. Shevchenko has range: she was one of the dancers who really inhabited Symphony in C when ABT performed it a few years ago, and she has also looked great in character-driven parts in Ratmansky's ballets.

She was also wonderful in the Ratmansky Trilogy and IMO was the best of the Lilac Fairies in "SB" this year. I agree that she has range and a very winning way and presence on stage. I'm looking forward to more things being given to her.

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Maria's twitter page now says she is a guest with ABT.

Wonder if ABT noticed she'd scooped them and they asked her to change it for the time being? (That's of course assuming there's news about her on the horizon.)

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I've had as much negative to say about Kevin McKenzie as anyone since the turn of the decade but I can't blame every departure on him.

Take Joe Phillips for example. I look at him as the right dancer . . . but at the wrong time. He is not tall and, when he was emerging and getting a little bit of notice, ABT already had two short principals in Cornejo and Simkin as well as guest artist/principal Vasiliev. Right there you had three short principals, two of whom were especially difficult to cast in principal roles and who lacked suitable partners. (This is still a problem with Simkin, who is a "principal" that does soloist roles.)

Also complicating things for Phillips was that Joey Gorak was already ahead of him in the short-to-medium height line. There's just a natural limit to how many shorter male dancers the company can foster in the ranks with a goal of making them principals. To his credit, I think Phillips could do the math and see that the best he could hope for was a diet of Bluebirds and Golden Idols and second bananas in Romeo&Juliet. He wanted to dance principal roles so he made the smart decision and went to Russia. I can't fault McKenzie for that.

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Phillips could do the math and see that the best he could hope for was a diet of Bluebirds and Golden Idols and second bananas in Romeo&Juliet. He wanted to dance principal roles so he made the smart decision and went to Russia. I can't fault McKenzie for that.

Nor can I.

As for ABT no longer being a destination company (discussed earlier): When a taller principal, David Hallberg, went to Bolshoi , ABT became a destination for James Whiteside, already a principal at SFB. I think there's an ebb and flow to this sort of thing.

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As for ABT no longer being a destination company (discussed earlier): When a taller principal, David Hallberg, went to Bolshoi , ABT became a destination for James Whiteside, already a principal at SFB. I think there's an ebb and flow to this sort of thing.

Whiteside was a principal at Boston Ballet and was hired by ABT as a soloist, then promoted one year later to principal:

http://www.abt.org/dancers/detail.asp?Dancer_ID=300

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I saw Matthew Golding in the Royal Ballet's "The Dream" last night. He's a principal dancer there and definitely looks the part. His bio says that he joined ABT in 2003 and left for Dutch National Ballet in 2009, before joining the RB. He was stellar last night, handsome, a gorgeous dancer with a beautiful line, both on the floor and in the air. From my seat in the second tier he looked tall and regal. How did ABT let him get away?

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