bingham

Roster Changes at ABT

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Two more corps members leaving per a public Instagram post: retiring are Adrienne Schulte and Marian Butler.

The post said they were there 18 years. Wow. ABT should mention these departures like SF ballet seems to do.

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Marian Butler is leaving? I'm sad to learn that. According to her bio she's actually been there 20 years. I believe she's the most senior female corps dancer. She was always a charming Cowgirl in Rodeo but she hasn't danced that role in years.

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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?

Because these things happen. You might similarly ask the Royal how they let Xander Parrish get away after rotting in the corps for 5 years...

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Marian Butler is leaving? I'm sad to learn that. According to her bio she's actually been there 20 years. I believe she's the most senior female corps dancer. She was always a charming Cowgirl in Rodeo but she hasn't danced that role in years.

Yes, it was on jkopit's Instagram. Not sure how to post the link.

I really think ABT should do some kind of public recognition for these retirements. I know they can't do what they do with the principal dancers, but maybe an announcement before their last performance so the audience can appreciate folks who have given so much over the last 18-20 years.

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Because these things happen. You might similarly ask the Royal how they let Xander Parrish get away after rotting in the corps for 5 years...

That's an explanation of Parrish's departure. Perhaps angelica's question was a genuine one. Does anyone recall the circumstances of Golding's departure from ABT?

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Because these things happen. You might similarly ask the Royal how they let Xander Parrish get away after rotting in the corps for 5 years...

If I followed the Royal Ballet as closely as I follow ABT, I might very well be asking that very question. Nevertheless, I did see Matthew Golding while he was at ABT and was astounded when he left. Sometimes I want to hit a certain AD over the head.

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There's a perfectly reasonable reason for why Matthew Golding didn't advance at ABT in the middle part of the last decade: There was no place for him to advance to. Remember, the male principals roster at that time consisted of Beloserkovsky, Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Cornejo, Gomes, Malakhov and Steifel. They were the single greatest roster of male dancers anywhere in the world. Also, Hallberg was still a soloist around 2005-06, and you had talented soloists like Carlos Lopez and Sascha Radetsky. Jared Matthews and Alex Hammoudi were still in the corps for some of that time too.

The male principals and soloists were at their apex during the exact time Golding was in the corps. In retrospect, you could argue that McKenzie should have placed his money on Golding instead of Hammoudi, who has been an uneven soloist (to put it mildly.) But none of that was knowable at the time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Golding's Royal Ballet profile doesn't convey the whole picture of his time at ABT. His Dutch National Ballet profile states that he danced with the main ABT company for three seasons, which would be 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07. After that, he toured with the Corrella Ballet in 2008 and 2009 before he joined the Dutch National Ballet as a soloist. From there, he leapt across the Channel to the English National Ballet and the Royal Ballet.

So, again, what is it a blunder on McKenzie's part? Or was it another case of the right dancer coming along at a bad time in terms of promotions? I don't fault Golding at all for leaving. Like Phillips, he was a young man in a hurry and, also like Phillips, he took stock of his ABT situation and realized he would have to wait awhile for a promotion. But none of that falls on McKenzie.

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There might be another reason left ABT: his wife is Anna Tsyganova and she dances with the Dutch National Ballet.

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There's a perfectly reasonable reason for why Matthew Golding didn't advance at ABT in the middle part of the last decade: There was no place for him to advance to. Remember, the male principals roster at that time consisted of Beloserkovsky, Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Cornejo, Gomes, Malakhov and Steifel. They were the single greatest roster of male dancers anywhere in the world. Also, Hallberg was still a soloist around 2005-06, and you had talented soloists like Carlos Lopez and Sascha Radetsky. Jared Matthews and Alex Hammoudi were still in the corps for some of that time too.

The male principals and soloists were at their apex during the exact time Golding was in the corps. In retrospect, you could argue that McKenzie should have placed his money on Golding instead of Hammoudi, who has been an uneven soloist (to put it mildly.) But none of that was knowable at the time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Golding's Royal Ballet profile doesn't convey the whole picture of his time at ABT. His Dutch National Ballet profile states that he danced with the main ABT company for three seasons, which would be 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07. After that, he toured with the Corrella Ballet in 2008 and 2009 before he joined the Dutch National Ballet as a soloist. From there, he leapt across the Channel to the English National Ballet and the Royal Ballet.

So, again, what is it a blunder on McKenzie's part? Or was it another case of the right dancer coming along at a bad time in terms of promotions? I don't fault Golding at all for leaving. Like Phillips, he was a young man in a hurry and, also like Phillips, he took stock of his ABT situation and realized he would have to wait awhile for a promotion. But none of that falls on McKenzie.

When someone is that good, the AD needs to have the ability to see a place for him in the future, and to offer that perspective to the dancer. If I, a mere balletomane, could see Golding's promise, and the fact that he seemed headed to carry on the torch, then surely a good AD would have that ability too. Golding seems to have been all over the map before landing at the RB, where his abilities are obviously appreciated. Had he stayed at ABT he would have been a principal dancer now and we would not be wringing our hands to find partners for the likes of, say, Veronika Part.

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

That is the big question, bingham! IMHO, the five greatest ballet companies in the world (Mariinsky, Bolshoi, POB, RB, NYCB) all have company styles in which their dancers are trained in their schools. The Mariinsky emphasizes the pliancy of the upper body more than any other school, which is perhaps one reason that audiences love Vishneva, Obraztsova, Lopatkina, Makarova, and their ilk.

As vrsfanatic said above, "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."

The JKO schools describes its training curriculum as follows:

"The American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School aims to provide the highest quality ballet training, consistent with the stylistic requirements of American Ballet Theatre, and to provide dancers with a rich knowledge of classical technique and the ability to adapt to all styles and techniques of dance. The curriculum of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School is ABT's National Training Curriculum, which combines scientific principles with elements from the classic French, Italian and Russian schools of training."

By trying to be all things, the training ends up being non-specific, a neutral form of training that emphasizes everything and nothing. Although more and more dancers are being accepted into ABTII and then the main company, it remains to be seen whether they develop this fluidity that so much distinguishes the great dancers of all time. Anyway, that's why my eye was drawn to Shevchenko, which started this whole discussion

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When someone is that good, the AD needs to have the ability to see a place for him in the future, and to offer that perspective to the dancer.

Do we know that McKenzie didn't see that future, and didn't have a chat with Golding in which he said, in effect, "Be patient. Your time will come." Even if he did, there was still no room for Golding at the top between 2004 and 2007, and Hallberg was already ahead of him in the soloist-to-principal line. Under those circumstances, Golding may have said to himself, not unreasonably, "Careers are short. I don't want to wait."

Also, I don't know that there is unanimous opinion about how good he is. Just reading the current 'Royal Ballet US Tour' thread on this forum has left me with the impression that there are mixed opinions about him.

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Two more corps members leaving per a public Instagram post: retiring are Adrienne Schulte and Marian Butler.

The post said they were there 18 years. Wow. ABT should mention these departures like SF ballet seems to do.

See https://instagram.com/p/4b3lqAzBAA/

I'm sorry to hear that we won't have a chance to see Marian Butler again: a beautiful stylist who had more roles created on her in ABT's rep than many principal dancers. She always had that indefinable corps virtue of being completely in sync yet looking somehow more right. (I'll miss her Cowgirl too, ABT Fan.)

Congrats to her and Schulte on two great careers: they've made many audiences happy.

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I'm sorry to hear that we won't have a chance to see Marian Butler again: a beautiful stylist who had more roles created on her in ABT's rep than many principal dancers.

Just curious, which roles were created on her? I haven't been following ABT long enough to have a sense of this.

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When someone is that good, the AD needs to have the ability to see a place for him in the future, and to offer that perspective to the dancer. If I, a mere balletomane, could see Golding's promise, and the fact that he seemed headed to carry on the torch, then surely a good AD would have that ability too. Golding seems to have been all over the map before landing at the RB, where his abilities are obviously appreciated. Had he stayed at ABT he would have been a principal dancer now and we would not be wringing our hands to find partners for the likes of, say, Veronika Part.

Well, we don't know absolutely that Golding would have made Principle in that time had he stayed. There are many reasons dancers choose to move on, some professional and some personal. It's possible Golding wanted to do different rep than what is offered at ABT. Or perhaps the coaching, etc. is better in a different company. Sometimes it's just wanting to live and work in say, London. And we shouldn't think ABT is so extraordinary a company that it deserves to have all the best male dancers. Or that even Veronika would go partner-less without Golding. Sometimes the best thing an AD can do for any individual dancer is to let them go to find their bliss. If the male dancer category was so top heavy at the time of Golding's decision to leave, it may have been with McKenzie's blessing for all we know. As a former male Principle himself, he as much as anyone would understand the need to dance and dance NOW! I hardly think the blame is on Kevin.

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Just curious, which roles were created on her? I haven't been following ABT long enough to have a sense of this.

The first ones to mind are a very funny solo in Paul Taylor's Black Tuesday, Chinese in Ratmansky's Nutcracker, and Mark Morris' Gong (she either created it or took it over immediately). Historical cast lists usually only show the principal roles, but she occupied a lot of the corps and demi-soloist parts made over the past two decades.

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Well, we don't know absolutely that Golding would have made Principle in that time had he stayed. There are many reasons dancers choose to move on, some professional and some personal. It's possible Golding wanted to do different rep than what is offered at ABT. Or perhaps the coaching, etc. is better in a different company. Sometimes it's just wanting to live and work in say, London. And we shouldn't think ABT is so extraordinary a company that it deserves to have all the best male dancers. Or that even Veronika would go partner-less without Golding. Sometimes the best thing an AD can do for any individual dancer is to let them go to find their bliss. If the male dancer category was so top heavy at the time of Golding's decision to leave, it may have been with McKenzie's blessing for all we know. As a former male Principle himself, he as much as anyone would understand the need to dance and dance NOW! I hardly think the blame is on Kevin.

Yes, of course, mimsyb, there may be many reasons why a dancer might leave a company, but given how many promising dancers have left ABT in recent years, it isn't unrealistic to posit that the AD's vision may have been too short with Golding. Golding joined Dutch National Ballet as a second soloist, so I don't see that as a mighty leap forward. However, as Golding trained at the Royal with his Prix de Lausanne scholarship, it's possible, even likely, that the Royal was Golding's target all along, and that ABT and Dutch National were mere stepping stones in that direction.

I do think that during her years at ABT, Veronika has been virtually partner-less (someone on this board noted the great partnerships of the past for which ABT dancers were renowned), and that Golding could have made a great partner for her. Of course, in 2003, the AD didn't see Veronika as his reigning Swan Queen either, yet another example of his short-term vision.

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Of course, in 2003, the AD didn't see Veronika as his reigning Swan Queen either, yet another example of his short-term vision.

I know you didn't intend to imply this, but I'd just add that he has never, even now, viewed her in this way!

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I know you didn't intend to imply this, but I'd just add that he has never, even now, viewed her in this way!

Yes, nanushka, you're absolutely right, and IMO that's yet another example of his lack of vision. Perhaps one reason why he hasn't tried to find her a suitable partner. So sad.

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Yes, nanushka, you're absolutely right, and IMO that's yet another example of his lack of vision. Perhaps one reason why he hasn't tried to find her a suitable partner. So sad.

Veronika Part is probably my favorite principal, certainly she is my favorite in Swan Lake. Still ballet is subjective. It is art. My favorite artists are not everyone artists and that is as it should be.

I don't think it is fair to criticize someone for "lack of vision" for not recognizing her as the "reigning Swan Queen" of the company.

Nor do we know what he has or hasn't done with regards to finding her a suitable partner. He may think, even if we disagree, that Cory is a suitable partner. Veronika may think so as well. He did bring in a new guest with her this year, lest we forget.

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Veronika Part is probably my favorite principal, certainly she is my favorite in Swan Lake. Still ballet is subjective. It is art. My favorite artists are not everyone artists and that is as it should be.

I don't think it is fair to criticize someone for "lack of vision" for not recognizing her as the "reigning Swan Queen" of the company.

I don't think angelica was implying that that was the reason she thinks he has "lack of vision." Certainly it's fair to point to what one thinks of as one of many things that contribute to one's opinion that he has "lack of vision."

I think it's fairly clear from the facts of casting, scheduling, etc. that Veronika is not viewed by the ABT leadership as being among their foremost Odette/Odiles.

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I don't think angelica was implying that that was the reason she thinks he has "lack of vision." Certainly it's fair to point to what one thinks of as one of many things that contribute to one's opinion that he has "lack of vision."

I think it's fairly clear from the facts of casting, scheduling, etc. that Veronika is not viewed by the ABT leadership as being among their foremost Odette/Odiles.

Thank you, nanushka! thanks.GIF

I'm exhausted from all the performances and posts (mine, I'm not exhausted from reading anyone else's!)

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Veronika Part is probably my favorite principal, certainly she is my favorite in Swan Lake. Still ballet is subjective. It is art. My favorite artists are not everyone artists and that is as it should be.

I don't think it is fair to criticize someone for "lack of vision" for not recognizing her as the "reigning Swan Queen" of the company.

Nor do we know what he has or hasn't done with regards to finding her a suitable partner. He may think, even if we disagree, that Cory is a suitable partner. Veronika may think so as well. He did bring in a new guest with her this year, lest we forget.

p.s. I agree that their bringing in Nedak is a good sign that some care is being given to ensuring that Veronika has a suitable partner. I found their performance together to be quite satisfying and hope that he returns. And I also think (as I've written elsewhere) that Cory has now become a much more suitable partner for her as well.

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p.s. I agree that their bringing in Nedak is a good sign that some care is being given to ensuring that Veronika has a suitable partner. I found their performance together to be quite satisfying and hope that he returns. And I also think (as I've written elsewhere) that Cory has now become a much more suitable partner for her as well.

I'm curious if she might be paired with Whiteside again. He did a superb job partnering her in their second outing of Don Q, a ballet that couldn't be more against type for Veronika. They seemed to have a great rapport.

While I'm not a huge proponent of importing talent, there aren't exactly a lot of up-and-coming tall male dancers in ABT's corps or soloist ranks, except perhaps Thomas Forster. I don't really consider Hammoudi a compelling option in the tall dancer department any longer.

I'd like to see more of Nedak at ABT. He reminded me a lot of Marcelo, and ABT could use another all-around strong partner.

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Yes, of course, mimsyb, there may be many reasons why a dancer might leave a company, but given how many promising dancers have left ABT in recent years, it isn't unrealistic to posit that the AD's vision may have been too short with Golding. Golding joined Dutch National Ballet as a second soloist, so I don't see that as a mighty leap forward. However, as Golding trained at the Royal with his Prix de Lausanne scholarship, it's possible, even likely, that the Royal was Golding's target all along, and that ABT and Dutch National were mere stepping stones in that direction.

I do think that during her years at ABT, Veronika has been virtually partner-less (someone on this board noted the great partnerships of the past for which ABT dancers were renowned), and that Golding could have made a great partner for her. Of course, in 2003, the AD didn't see Veronika as his reigning Swan Queen either, yet another example of his short-term vision.

When Golding first left ABT, I believe he went to Corella Ballet, and then left there to go to Het.

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