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Misty Copeland - Divided Views

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Sorry, if this should go somewhere else.

Out of curiosity I checked the Queensland Performing Art Center for ABT casting. There is no specific casting but the company members are listed. I wasn't surprised that Julie Kent's name is missing. I don't think there's anything for her to do there. I was surprised to see Joseph Gorak's name missing (unless I just didn't see it)

http://www.qpac.com.au/americanballettheatre/company.html?utm_source=homepageTile&utm_medium=Direct-Visits&utm_campaign=ABT

I'm really wondering when the casting for all those Swan Lakes is going up.

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Gorak's name isn't listed but Hallberg's is. Two surprises. I keep checking ABT's site for casting. You're not the only one who is eagerly waiting. :)

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Wow. Hallberg is dancing with ABT a lot this year, in contrast to the last few years. Semionova's not on the tour.

I don't see why Kent couldn't dance in Fancy Free, as she has in prior revivals. She also previously did a role in Seven Sonatas, but that may now be out of her technical reach.

I think the issue has to do with timing. She has young kids, and the new school year starts right when this tour is scheduled. I'm sure Victor Barbee has to go on the trip, and so they may have decided that one parent should remain in NYC.

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Re: Gorak being missing from the announcement. He is still in the corps de ballet until 8/1/14, so he wouldn't be one of the leading soloists they would be announcing. However he is listed for roles in "Seven Sonatas" and "Bach Partita". April Giangeruso has also landed a solo role in "Bach Partita"

Interesting note: Gomes is not dancing in "Swan Lake".

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It is too bad that Misty is only scheduled for one performance of Swan Lake. You would think at least two, would give her the chance to relax and develop, or at least a second chance to get over any nerves and anxiety. With only one scheduled, it's like an audition -- you better nail it, this is it!

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Re: Gorak being missing from the announcement. He is still in the corps de ballet until 8/1/14, so he wouldn't be one of the leading soloists they would be announcing. However he is listed for roles in "Seven Sonatas" and "Bach Partita". April Giangeruso has also landed a solo role in "Bach Partita"

Interesting note: Gomes is not dancing in "Swan Lake".

Except that the other newly appointed soloists won't be soloists till August 1 either yet that site has them listed as soloists for the engagement (Tuescher, Zhurbin, Schevchenko). So leaving off Gorak doesn't make sense unless it's just an error.

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Re: Gorak being missing from the announcement. He is still in the corps de ballet until 8/1/14, so he wouldn't be one of the leading soloists they would be announcing. However he is listed for roles in "Seven Sonatas" and "Bach Partita". April Giangeruso has also landed a solo role in "Bach Partita"

Interesting note: Gomes is not dancing in "Swan Lake".

Except that the other newly appointed soloists won't be soloists till August 1 either yet that site has them listed as soloists for the engagement (Tuescher, Zhurbin, Schevchenko). So leaving off Gorak doesn't make sense unless it's just an error.

Since Gorak is cast in things I suspect it's just an error. Boylston is on the list of principals but if you click on her name the bio still says soloist. I there are just errors to be fixed. I have to say It is annoying to me that Copeland is getting a SL when Stella Abrera and Sarah Lane are not. I'm sure the PR will be great.

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I have to say It is annoying to me that Copeland is getting a SL when Stella Abrera and Sarah Lane are not. I'm sure the PR will be great.

These days Copeland is just a PR machine. She has neither the lyrical softness required for Odette nor the technical fireworks for Odile. I hate to judge her before she has even danced the role, but there are certainly dancers more deserving of a Wednesday matinee SL. Can Copeland's appearance in SL be considered a breakthrough achievement for African-American dancers even though she has had to repeatedly sell, sell, sell her story of triumph over adversity and portray herself as THE only black female dancer who has ever accomplished anything in classical ballet? I think it's unfortunate because I'd really love to see a black dancer rise through the ranks of ABT on merit alone rather than heavy-handed marketing. Talent should speak for itself.

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These days Copeland is just a PR machine. She has neither the lyrical softness required for Odette nor the technical fireworks for Odile. I hate to judge her before she has even danced the role, but there are certainly dancers more deserving of a Wednesday matinee SL. Can Copeland's appearance in SL be considered a breakthrough achievement for African-American dancers even though she has had to repeatedly sell, sell, sell her story of triumph over adversity and portray herself as THE only black female dancer who has ever accomplished anything in classical ballet? I think it's unfortunate because I'd really love to see a black dancer rise through the ranks of ABT on merit alone rather than heavy-handed marketing. Talent should speak for itself.

Great post. My thoughts exactly.

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Agree with above. Misty has become a publicity machine. She has become the Kim Kardashian of ballet. If you have a TV camera or a publication, Misty will be there to tell and retell and retell again her sad story. The combo of her and Hammoudi making their debuts makes me cringe. Neither one is ready for prime time in their lead roles. Hamoudi was awful as Rothbart. The technique was lacking. I can't even imagine him pulling off the lead in this ballet at this point. I wonder if Kevin will be bold enough to use that combo in NYC. If so, I'll be anywhere else except the Met.

Reyes is not on the tour.

I guess Gomes will do Rothbart. Lucky Aussies.

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Sorry not to see Forster cast. At least Tam is getting some parts.

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She has become the Kim Kardashian of ballet.

I haven't followed Copeland's career in detail, but this seems out of proportion to your objections.

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I wouldn't call Misty a Kim Kardashian. She may not be a world-class dancer in the eyes of many, but at least she does have a job in show business and isn't famous for being famous.

I agree that her constant self-promotion can get tiresome. But the fact that deserving white dancers like Sara Lane and deserving minority dancers like Stella Abrera don't have higher profiles or jobs as principals isn't Misty's fault. Heck, the fact that most ballet superstars aren't as famous as Misty isn't her fault. The PR hustle Copeland engages in is open to most of the people of stature in ballet who are willing to do the work.

I personally think that ballet could do with more "vulgar" profile raising.

I agree with Virginia Johnson who said that in an ideal world there would be 15 or more great black female classical dancers whose career trajectories at major companies were so steep that we could be certain of finally seeing black women in the senior ranks.

But right now, for those black ballet fans who want to see reflections of themselves on stage in lead roles, Misty is all we've got. There isn't another black woman anywhere else in the world who comes close to her seniority at a major company. The fact that she obviously generates lots of haterade in some people is a fact most of us are willing to overlook in order to see a black woman get a chance at lead roles.

Copeland will finally get to dance an iconic role after seven years as a soloist, and that won't hurt any other female dancer in any way. Nobody who is brilliant or even just good, will be held back because of Misty.

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I agree with sandik and Tapfan that comparing Misty Copeland to a woman whose original claim to fame is a sex tape seems uncalled for. While I too would prefer to see a number of other dancers at ABT get chances at major roles before, this is Kevin McKenzie's decision not hers. After seven years as a soloist, is Copeland supposed to turn down the biggest opportunity of her career? And are there like comparisons for Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston and Julie Kent at this point in her career?

And like it or not, her story is very unique like Jeremy Lin in the NBA. Maybe it is tiresome to longtime ballet fans, but if we complain about companies not reaching out to new audiences and potential new fans, should we also be complaining that Copeland, along with promoting herself, is promoting ballet and ABT to a group that has been and still is very underrepresented in the art and in its audiences?

I know the last time I was in NY at an ABT performance, I sat behind an African-American family with two little girls, and they were very excited to see Copeland dance. They really went wild every time she came onstage. Maybe that's not how it should be, but it is. (I do remember the first time I saw Asian people not playing cooks or laundry owners on American TV. I actually called my mother to tell her there were Asian people on TV. ‚ÄčAnd they were eating cornflakes!)

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Wasn't referring to the sex tape. In fact, didn't even realize that there was a sex tape. Was referring to the fact that Kim and Misty are both publicity seekers. If you read my original post it was in the context of Misty's quest for publicity. She uses the media to become more famous and gain traction at ABT for better roles. Contrast this with Hallberg, who initially became famous due to his brilliant dancing and his inviitation to join the Bolshoi, which was then followed by the media seeking him out for interviews. Not vice versa - ie - Misty is famous for her personal story and other non dancing factors, not for her dancing. Hope this clarifies that the comparison had nothing to do with sex tapes.

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Copeland will finally get to dance an iconic role after seven years as a soloist, and that won't hurt any other female dancer in any way. Nobody who is brilliant or even just good, will be held back because of Misty.

I beg to differ. If they were going to pick a short soloist for SL, it should have gone to Lane, not Copeland. Lane is a superior dancer, and has also performed the role with Corella Ballet. Merit should win out, but it doesn't. Do we really want ABT to become a company where roles are based on a popularity contest instead of quality? This is a very slippery slope.

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I agree with sandik and Tapfan that comparing Misty Copeland to a woman whose original claim to fame is a sex tape seems uncalled for. While I too would prefer to see a number of other dancers at ABT get chances at major roles before, this is Kevin McKenzie's decision not hers. After seven years as a soloist, is Copeland supposed to turn down the biggest opportunity of her career? And are there like comparisons for Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston and Julie Kent at this point in her career?

And like it or not, her story is very unique like Jeremy Lin in the NBA. Maybe it is tiresome to longtime ballet fans, but if we complain about companies not reaching out to new audiences and potential new fans, should we also be complaining that Copeland, along with promoting herself, is promoting ballet and ABT to a group that has been and still is very underrepresented in the art and in its audiences?

I know the last time I was in NY at an ABT performance, I sat behind an African-American family with two little girls, and they were very excited to see Copeland dance. They really went wild every time she came onstage. Maybe that's not how it should be, but it is. (I do remember the first time I saw Asian people not playing cooks or laundry owners on American TV. I actually called my mother to tell her there were Asian people on TV. ‚ÄčAnd they were eating cornflakes!)

Let the church say, Amen! Your remarks remind me of stories told by my parents about the time when they were children in the late fifties and early sixties. This was a time that seeing black people on TV was so rare, that when someone like the young comic Bill Cosby appeared on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show, black parents would wake the whole family to see him.

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I think we all agree that more racial diversity is needed in classical ballet in the US. But Copeland has muddled the issue more than necessary. I haven't read her entire book, but have seen excerpts in which she always seems to blame racism (never her own technical limits) for excluding her from certain roles. Now, when she does get plum roles, we will always wonder how much those charges of racism had to do with it. She fails the test of "Know thyself" and seems unable to recognize that her own technical limitations might have something to do with it, at least part of the time.

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Copeland will finally get to dance an iconic role after seven years as a soloist, and that won't hurt any other female dancer in any way. Nobody who is brilliant or even just good, will be held back because of Misty.

I beg to differ. If they were going to pick a short soloist for SL, it should have gone to Lane, not Copeland. Lane is a superior dancer, and has also performed the role with Corella Ballet. Merit should win out, but it doesn't.

But McKenzie makes that decision, not Misty. If her unyielding self-promotion is supposed to be pressuring McKenzie into promoting her to principal despite her being undeserving, it's not working very well. After all, she's been selling herself to the public for as long as I've been following her and that goes back to 2010.

Also, it's not like Sarah hasn't had her own fair share of opportunities to dance leads in important ballets like T&V. She even had her own mini PR push with the Black Swan dance double controversy. If there is a consensus amongst in-the-know people that she is so vastly superior, why didn't that assure promotion to the top ranks?

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If McKenzie doesn't see the potential for improvement in the performances of either Hammoudi or Copeland in their debut performances in Australia, he might not cast them in NY in these roles at all. He gave Maria Ricetto one chance at a Giselle in NY, but never cast her in it again. I'm not sure if she was given an out-of-town Giselle before her Met debut. As a I recall, she had some serious problems with executing portions of the choreography.

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I think we all agree that more racial diversity is needed in classical ballet in the US. But Copeland has muddled the issue more than necessary. I haven't read her entire book, but have seen excerpts in which she always seems to blame racism (never her own technical limits) for excluding her from certain roles. Now, when she does get plum roles, we will always wonder how much those charges of racism had to do with it. She fails the test of "Know thyself" and seems unable to recognize that her own technical limitations might have something to do with it, at least part of the time.

I'm not willing to wait for Black Ballerina Supergirl - whom everyone can agree is great - to swoop in and prove once and for all that black women can master the art form at the highest level. Either I or ballet will probably be dead before that happens.

I'd just like to see a black woman dance the lead in Swan Lake. Ballet Black and DTH don't seem to be inclined to program this ballet any time soon.

Following the careers of people with the potential to be stars like say, Precious Adams, is next to impossible and people like Kimberly Braylock and Courtney Lavine don't seem to be on anybody's radar for stardom.

So it's Misty or nobody.

By the way, despite having done well at the Prix de Lausanne, I can see the resentment amongst many in the balleratti building towards Precious Adams because she had the unmitigated gall to suggest that she was the victim of unabashed racism in that politics - free bastion of freedom and fairness in Putin's Russia, the Bolshoi school.

While it's true that nobody forced her to go there, it's not unreasonable for her to expect to receive fair treatment at a place of learning, if not in the Russian society at large.

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