PeggyR

SFB: Retirements at the end of 2014

24 posts in this topic

Two principal dancers will be retiring at the end of the 2014 season: Damian Smith and Rubén Martín Cintas. Smith’s retirement had been announced previously, but Martín Cintas is a bit of a surprise (to me, anyway). That's three male principals gone in two years (Pierre-Francois Villanoba retired at the end of last season).

Now the speculation begins: who will replace them?

Only subscribers can access the page right now, but here’s an excerpt from the subscriber email:

JUST ANNOUNCED!

Special Farewell Performance—one night only!

Sun, May 11, 7pm

Join us as we celebrate the careers of Principal Dancers Rubén Martín Cintas and Damian Smith in their final performance with SF Ballet. Don’t miss this special program showcasing the extraordinary artistry of two of the Company’s most beloved dancers. Programming for the evening will be announced soon—this will be a performance that ballet fans will not want to miss

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PeggyR- Did the email about the May 11 farewell performance say when tickets would be available for non-subscribers?

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PeggyR- Did the email about the May 11 farewell performance say when tickets would be available for non-subscribers?

Sorry about that! Here's the entire email.

JUST ANNOUNCED!

Special Farewell Performance—one night only!

Sun, May 11, 7pm

Join us as we celebrate the careers of Principal Dancers Rubén Martín Cintas and Damian Smith in their final performance with SF Ballet. Don’t miss this special program showcasing the extraordinary artistry of two of the Company’s most beloved dancers. Programming for the evening will be announced soon—this will be a performance that ballet fans will not want to miss!

Special Access for Subscribers

As a subscriber, you're a special part of the SF Ballet family, so we’re giving you advance notice of this performance, and exclusive access to tickets at a discounted subscriber rate before they go on sale to the general public Thursday, April 24.

Learn more about Rubén Martín Cintas and view performance excerpts.

Learn more about Damian Smith and view performance excerpts.

Online: https://www.sfballet.org/farewell

Subscribers must login to receive access and special subscriber pricing for this performance

Phone: 415.865.2000

Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm

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Intersesting that the text says "Farewell" and not "Retire." I'm assuming that Ruben is retiring, as he's been dancing a lot less technically demanding roles the past year or two.... And here I thought Gennadi or Pascal would be the next principal men to retire.

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Was so shocked to hear Ruben Martin Cintas was retiring. That, on top of Damian Smith leaving - ouch! Yes, PeggyTulle, agreed on your comments, and there's Joan Boada, too. He's been there a long, long time.

I soooooo wish I could go to that Sunday 7p performance, but the schedule just won't allow it (and I've got tix for Ballet San Jose the night before). I went to Program 7 last night and I have to admit, there were tears in my eyes as I watched Damian and YY in their Fifth Season pas de deux. Will so miss that pairing.

So glad to see this post, Peggy, after just hearing the news about Cintas retiring as well, and wanting more info.

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Program and casts for the farewell performance:

SUNDAY, MAY11—7:00PM—SPECIAL FAREWELL PERFORMANCE

Excerpts from THE FIFTH SEASON
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Composer: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Frances Chung, Davit Karapetyan
Mathilde Froustey, Davit Karapetyan, Ruben Martin Cintas, Damian Smith
Yuan Yuan Tan, Damian Smith

VARIATIONS FOR TWO COUPLES
Choreographer: Hans van Manen
Composers: Benjamin Britten, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Stefan Kovács Tickmayer, Aster Piazzolla
Conductor: Martin West

Sofiane Sylve, Luke Ingham
Sarah Van Patten, Carlos Quenedit*

“THE MAN I LOVE” from WHO CARES?
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music and Lyrics: George and Ira Gershwin, arranged by Hershey Kay
Conductor: Martin West

Simone Messmer, Ruben Martin Cintas

Pas de Deux from AFTER THE RAIN
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Composer: Arvo Pärt
Conductor: Martin West

Yuan Yuan Tan, Damian Smith

INTERMISSION

VIDEO PRESENTATION

IN THE NIGHT
Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
Composer: Frédéric Chopin
Conductor: Martin West

Dores Andre, Ruben Martin Cintas
Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets
Lorena Feijoo, Damian Smith

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According to Alan Ulrich in his SFGate review of the farewell performance yesterday, Simone Messmer will not be returning to SFB next year.

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According to Alan Ulrich in his SFGate review of the farewell performance yesterday, Simone Messmer will not be returning to SFB next year.

Oh no!!! I wonder what happened. She's made a lot of fans in her short time here. Very sad/bad news. Now for Froustey's decision.

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That IS disappointing, and it's impossible to know what prompted the decision to go/return. She may simply prefer to be in the North East. It wasn't for lack of opportunities - she was given as many roles as any of the other soloists. And let's face it, she got good press for her dancing. But maybe she has been lured back by an offer she couldn't refuse?

If both Messmer and Froustey leave it will be a quite a bummer - it will weigh heavily on Tomasson, but I won't be suprised if the dancers' reasons for leaving have little to do with SFB company management.

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I think perhaps Messmer just missed life on the East Coast too much.

I don't think Froustey will leave, at least not for the next season.

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Froustey is on a one-year sabbatical from Paris Opera Ballet. Her decision to leave or stay has significant financial as well as career ramifications.

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What we do know from interviews: Messmer wanted specifically to be a principal, and Tomasson didn't have that position available (I would think especially with the hiring of Froustey), and if in the end-of-season interview he said that matters remained the same, she may have decided that she would try her luck back on the East Coast. The details will no doubt leak out at some point.

Frosutey's situation is much more complicated: she has made friends in SF, I think she likes the company, but she's still (naturally) drawn to Paris and the POB. If she were able to dance part-time for POB too, then she might stay in SF during much of the regular season.

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I’m sure that Simone Messmer will be very missed in San Francisco as I’m sure she is in New York. Hopefully some company will give her the prominence that many of us feel that she deserves, and Everybody will get a chance to see a lot more of her.

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It wasn't for lack of opportunities - she was given as many roles as any of the other soloists. And let's face it, she got good press for her dancing.

I would say "precisely because of the lack of opportunities". I saw at least 30 SFB performances since the beginning of March and Messmer was cast very infrequently, often in secondary, "fine print" parts, where her name was not even capitalized. Not offering Messmer a position of principal should be considered a serious mistake.

For me Messmer became, in fact, the discovery of the season. Her only performance in "Caprice" was a true eye opener: that was magisterial and nuanced in a way no other principal at the San Francisco Ballet seems to be capable of. My thoughts after that performance were: "if I were Tomassón I would have promoted her to principal the same afternoon". Afterwards I tried to catch any glimpse of her dancing. Unfortunately, I think I saw her only twice afterwards (not counting her number with Cintas last Sunday). In the aftermath, her short stay at the San Francisco Ballet will be remembered, I am afraid, as a truly wasted opportunity for the San Francisco Ballet.

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It wasn't as if there weren't precedents for making Simone Messmer a principal. Pascal Molat was promoted after only one year as a soloist and Luke Ingham was fast-tracked too – probably to fill in for Damian Smith.

Messmer's career at San Francisco Ballet was bookended by two "Who Cares," one at the Gala and one at the farewell performance, and in between a Myrta and then excellent work in Shostakovich Trilogy and the penultimate Hummingbird.

Maybe it was a Jill Abramson "problem" and she was too strong, and the Ballet has its protocols that need to be most diplomatically handled. Or maybe she didn't have someone to champion her in the mid-ranks of the artistic staff. I once saw her at a rehearsal that I was most fortunately invited to by a friend. She was just three feet away coaching another dancer. I averted my gaze she was so close and I felt I was invading her space, and anyway I didn't really know until afterwards that it was her – she looked so different than on stage. But she seemed so open and free. It was probably after the decision – hers? theirs? – had been made.

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It wasn't for lack of opportunities - she was given as many roles as any of the other soloists. And let's face it, she got good press for her dancing.

I would say "precisely because of the lack of opportunities". I saw at least 30 SFB performances since the beginning of March and Messmer was cast very infrequently, often in secondary, "fine print" parts, where her name was not even capitalized. Not offering Messmer a position of principal should be considered a serious mistake.

30 performances?!!! You get the gold star for sure, Mathilde K. I hope SFB knows about your contribution to their bottom line! ;)

I guess I've been lucky in that Messmer was cast in pretty much every program I've gone to; however, she 'disappeared' form the end of the season (seemingly giving Dores Andre a lot to do). The castings did not look like they were weighted towards any particular soloist to me. But as I said, Dores Andre was popping up a lot at the end. But you would be able to go through the different castings and tell us if things were unbalanced. Or if particular dancers were struggling with injuries. Perhaps, she had already made the decision to go back home in mid season.

I don't know what her personality is like (it's been difficult to get any sense of that), but she may not have clicked well with the culture at SFB.

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FYI, it took Luke Ingham two years to get promoted. The only reason I know this is because I ran into him on Gough at the end of the 2013 season, and told him that I was looking forward to his promotion. It took another year. He was super-nice and friendly. Vito Mazzeo was promoted after his first year, and then (sob) left for the Dutch National Ballet. Aside from all that, I hope that Simone Messmer has a principal contract somewhere where she will be fully used and flourish. She is the most unique and talented female dancer I've seen in a long time.

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Great to hear all these compliments for Simone Messmer.


Simone Messmer — Last October:


“We’re getting used to all this new space, and I see the Golden Gate Bridge from my window. There are a couple of little beaches that are nearby. We went to Rodeo Beach the other day and watched a family of dolphins jump around. Who does that on a Sunday afternoon? It was great!”




Seemed perfect for an artist like herself. Hopefully she’ll find it at her new home along with a lot more.

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SImone Messmer is a wonderful dancer and will certainly be a principal somewhere, but it might have been a "culture of SFB" thing. I know that, before the season started, she got in a huge argument on Maria K's Facebook page about how backstage union help is paid vs. dancers (Simone's boyfriend does technical theater work--Kotchetkova thought is was unfair dancers were paid less). It was about as knock-down-drag-out an argument as I've ever seen on a dancer's FB page to the point that I was kind of in shock that it was happening in a public place like Facebook. I don't know if the argument was about what it seemed to be about or something else, but it wasn't the kind of incident that the front office would ignore. SFB doesn't seem like the kind of place which welcomes temperament or picking fights.

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I'd wondered if a promotion to principal would be dangled if they lost Froustey. Could Messmer's departure be based on the sense that Froustey appeared to be favoring remaining in San Francisco? Very sorry to hear the news that she'd be leaving. I hope they promote Julia Rowe to soloist; she's ready for it, and is suited for it, from what I've seen this season.

Palacinky - yikes, that is a shock that an argument like that would be kept in the public eye. There's still a pretty solid code of etiquette about what the public should or should not be exposed to in ballet. Or maybe that's "pre-social-media-days thinking." The old days. (Like... eight years ago.)

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