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Next Artistic Director for ABTPoll


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Poll: Next Artistic Director for ABT (58 member(s) have cast votes)

Who Should Be the Next Artistic Director for ABT?

  1. Victor Barbee (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. Julio Bocca (4 votes [6.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.90%

  3. Jose Manuel Carreno (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. Angel Corella (6 votes [10.34%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.34%

  5. John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow (8 votes [13.79%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.79%

  6. Laurent Hilaire (2 votes [3.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.45%

  7. Susan Jaffe (5 votes [8.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.62%

  8. Gelsey Kirkland (6 votes [10.34%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.34%

  9. Johan Kobborg (6 votes [10.34%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.34%

  10. Ethan Steifel (21 votes [36.21%])

    Percentage of vote: 36.21%

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#31 Helene

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

Surely they don't need to, but it would hardly hurt to be run by someone who received full classical training, had experience with Royal Danish Ballet, a company that has along tradition of coaching and narrative ballet, as well as Royal Winnipeg Ballet, a North American experience, has already run an institution much bigger and more complex than ABT in recent years, and who is also one of the great choreographers making work today, whose work happens to be a perfect fit for ABT.

 

He may not want the job, especially with the fundraising it would entail, but I can't think of anyone who would be more qualified to run ABT or any other ballet company on the planet.  He might not have a Kirstein, but he'd have a staff.



#32 sandik

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 01:08 PM

I think Ratmansky would be a very able AD (and considering his interest in historic dance, would likely bring a fresh interest to ABT's big storeroom o' repertory) but it would mean several big changes for him, not the least of which is limiting his choreography to his home company.



#33 Helene

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 01:18 PM

Huge changes, and he's been there and done that.   On the other hand, although Balanchine choreographed outside of NYCB rarely, once it moved to Lincoln Center and became an institution, he did venture out on occasion.  Also, if the company was his, he wouldn't have to go to Munich to stage "Raymonda," which would be a loss to other companies, but great for ABT.  ABT doesn't have the extensive schedule that European companies have, and it could be possible to do a two-four week stint in Europe or Canada every year.



#34 canbelto

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 08:31 PM

I realize this is going to come across as politically incorrect, but IMO the ABT has never been an artistic institution. It serves as a barebones touring company for people who want to see a Swan Lake or Romeo and Juliet. The real company is New York City Ballet, where the members graduated from the same school, and you can see the results of their day-in-day-out work together as a company. The corps de ballet for ABT is ragged and sloppy, and the turnover rate is so high. Sure it's sad when a talented soloist leaves because they can't dance the peasant pas de deux for the rest of their lives, but I just don't see a change in leadership changing the ABT's structure. 

 

That doesn't mean the ABT doesn't provide many memorable evenings of dance. It does. But as an institution it's never had the time or the care to:

 

1. Devote enough rehearsal time and enough variety in the rep to develop "homegrown" stars.

2. Stop using ridiculous, corrupted versions of the "Petipa classics." 

3. Care much about the Met season except as a touristy event. A whole week of Bayaderes? I don't know if anyone can endure a whole week of La Bayadere.



#35 kfw

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 10:25 AM

as an institution it's never had the time or the care to:

 

1. Devote enough rehearsal time and enough variety in the rep to develop "homegrown" stars.

 

Writing in American Ballet Theatre: a 25-year retrospective, Elizabeth Kaye says that

 

For the most part . . . Baryshnikov instituted a system generally used at New York City Ballet . . . Under this system, a company seeks to develop its own stars by encouraging gifted dancers to ascend over time . . . {etc.}

 

Kaye then cites the example of an 18-year old Susan Jaffe, still in the corps, partnered by Alexander Godunov in the pas de deux from La Corsaire on the opening night of Baryshnikov's inaugural season. Kaye also notes that he commissioned "many contemporary works," and cites Feld, Graham, Taylor, Cunningham and Kylian as among the choreographers from whom he staged pre-existing work.



#36 Drew

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 10:41 AM

I realize this is going to come across as politically incorrect, but IMO the ABT has never been an artistic institution. It serves as a barebones touring company for people who want to see a Swan Lake or Romeo and Juliet. The real company is New York City Ballet, where the members graduated from the same school, and you can see the results of their day-in-day-out work together as a company. The corps de ballet for ABT is ragged and sloppy, and the turnover rate is so high. Sure it's sad when a talented soloist leaves because they can't dance the peasant pas de deux for the rest of their lives, but I just don't see a change in leadership changing the ABT's structure. 

 

That doesn't mean the ABT doesn't provide many memorable evenings of dance. It does. But as an institution it's never had the time or the care to:

 

1. Devote enough rehearsal time and enough variety in the rep to develop "homegrown" stars.

2. Stop using ridiculous, corrupted versions of the "Petipa classics." 

3. Care much about the Met season except as a touristy event. A whole week of Bayaderes? I don't know if anyone can endure a whole week of La Bayadere.

It's a harsh if, unfortunately, in many ways quite defendable view of ABT but I think the word "never" does not reflect the company's long history. Kfw mentions the Baryshnikov era--one could look a lot earlier.  ABT has seen many important premiers and has had some substantive productions of Petipa classics (Blair's Swan Lake in the past, but also Makarova's Bayadere today). Moreover Ratmansky's role at ABT means that in one respect it is still a home for ballet as an artistic enterprise whatever one thinks of the balance of programming. (Which does seem to be in something of a rut.)



#37 Helene

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 10:46 AM

"Never" also ignores the rich and varied rep created for the company by Tudor, deMille,  Balanchine, Robbins and later Feld and Tetley, as well as Folkine's works and Tudor's extensive coaching, not to mention the American dancers who were the early stars of the company.

 

Even in the '70's during the Makarova/Nagy vs.Fracci/Bruhn debates, there were many performances of mixed bills in the spring/summer season among the "Swan Lakes" and "Giselles."



#38 miliosr

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 03:30 PM

Devote enough rehearsal time and enough variety in the rep to develop "homegrown" stars

And yet, for the period in question, homegrown stars did develop.  Under McKenzie, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Gillian Murphy and Cory Stearns (to name the dancers who spring immediately to mind) all rose from the corps to principal status.  Someone had to be nurturing them during that period.  I certainly don't believe they did it all on their own.

 

Where I think McKenzie has gone wrong is in the period since the Stearns promotion to principal.  I can't help but get a sense that the artistic management is floundering in terms of deciding who to promote and, more importantly, why.  As a result, we're in the current impasse where there are too many part-time principals/guest principals/exchange artists and complete stasis at the corps level.



#39 Josette

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 03:37 PM

The list of homegrown stars includes Michele Wiles . . . .



#40 ABT Fan

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:11 PM

And Hee Seo.

 

(Though I wouldn't consider her a "star", she has risen up from the corps.)



#41 ABT Fan

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:14 PM

Perhaps we should be grateful that the guest/exchange artists aren't part of the gala performance (small consolation).  I'm surprised that hasn't happened yet.



#42 canbelto

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:57 PM

I should amend my post and say "in recent history." The fact is, the ABT's never had a feeder school. For as long as I've been attending ABT, it's never had any Petipa classics that weren't severely abridged. Much of the rep originally created for the ABT has been junked or neglected, and it's always relied heavily on borrowing ballets from Ashton, MacMillan, Cranko, Balanchine. The lack of uniformity in training is obvious when you compare them to the NYCB/POB/Mariinsky/Bolshoi. 

 

I mean, as I said, there's been many many nights at the ABT which I've enjoyed and considered unforgettable. There are many, many dancers at the ABT that I admire. But in terms of being a real company, I don't think it'll ever happen. 



#43 kfw

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 05:30 PM

The fact is, the ABT's never had a feeder school.

 

What about The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School? I see listed among its graduates four of the six corps members Gia Kourlas singles out for praise in yesterday's Times, as well as a bunch of other company members. No principals (or soloists?) yet, it's true.



#44 ABT Fan

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:15 PM

The fact is, the ABT's never had a feeder school. Much of the rep originally created for the ABT has been junked or neglected.

 

ABT has had a feeder school for years, but it takes time to produce enough dancers who make it into the company.  There's quite a number of them now, just check the bios (corps especially) on their website.  

 

It was mentioned above about having a Twyla program, which I would be very much on board with.  I also wish they'd bring back more de Mille, and not just the occasional Rodeo, and Tudor.  But, I think there are people who consider de Mille's work to be musty now.

 

I don't think it's fair to say ABT has borrowed heavily from Ashton, MacMillan, Cranko, Balanchine, because so many other companies do the same (especially MacMillan and Balanchine).  

 

I think ABT is getting further and further away from being "a real company" as they keep bringing in more guest artists.  (Are they biding their time till more dancers from the school fill in the ranks?) With they ever get rid of guests?  I'd say never.  But, as long as those guests are hauled in in greater numbers each Met season, how could it ever seem like "a real company"?



#45 vipa

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 08:04 PM

I think the number of guest artists is the key, as well as the stature of the artists.  You bring in guests to sell tickets, and it's hard for me to believe that most of the guests ABT has for the Met season is serving that purpose.  




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