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Angel Corella appointed AD of Pennsylvania Ballet

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Ok, I had to wait until 8pm tonight and the press release was made, but there it is...Starting in September 2014, Angel Corella is to be the new AD of Pennsylvania Ballet. According to the press release, the company's current artistic director, Roy Kaiser, will remain with the company for the transition period and then become AD Emeritus.

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Wonderful! May the celebratory dancing begin! (And may whomever else was on the shortlist grace the helm of another company soon.)

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This should be very interesting!

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He has been generally well liked other places he has worked... more so than is typical... one never knows how a new situation will go but the past history has been good.

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I admit I have not followed along with his company in Spain -- would someone here give a brief description of his programming choices.

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He presented his company in New York in 2010 and 2012. Online, there are descriptions of the programming and reviews.

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So happy Angel got this job. He lost so much trying to get the company in Spain off the ground, including some of his own personal wealth that he sunk into the company. Do we think that any ABT dancers who are fed up might eventually defect to PA ballet.

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This should be very interesting!

Yes, especially since I always thought of this company as more of a Balanchine house. But perhaps that's changed now. At first I thought Angel an odd choice, but perhaps he can bring some stature to this company in many areas. Im so happy for him. Glad he's landed on his feet, at last! Congrats!

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The Balanchine works are staged by the Balanchine police, so the fact that Angel is not a Balanchine specialist may not matter that much ultimately.

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The Balanchine works are staged by the Balanchine police, so the fact that Angel is not a Balanchine specialist may not matter that much ultimately.

Well, it would only matter if fewer Balanchine works were presented in the future. As one of the first of Balanchine's proteges to branch out, Barbara Weisberger did much to bring Balanchine out into the rest of the country. While I believe there is room for all types of productions (new choreographers, new music, etc.), I would hate to see that very special legacy wasted. But I also believe that Corella has enough intelligence and taste to know that Balanchine can stand along with any new comers to the field.

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There is something to be said for dancers knowing Balanchine style as home turf from company class as opposed to trying to pick it up during rehearsals from a regisseur... Will Corella replace the current ballet masters/mistresses with his own people? The current ones have very strong connections having risen through the ranks to principal and then on retirement kept the company tuned to it's repertoire. Pennsylvania ballet has also been cultivating home grown choreographers. It sounds like Corella might continue that (one would certainly hope!).

Taking over a company is a different animal than starting one from scratch... One thing I believe Kaiser was very good at was piloting the company a navigable course through known rapids... I do not know what hurdles the local unions and the board will throw in front of himn, but I hope Corella's grace will carry him and the company over.

I hope the orchestra stays... it would be horrible to lose live music... and live music is always a budget issue. Part of the Balanchine legacy is respect for live music.

Perhaps Corella will take the company on tour... I would so love to see our regional companies touring again like in the glory days of NEA funding... it is so sad to only get these one-night-stand bus tour Russians coming through the college towns... You should hear the ignorance in the media in places like Connecticut - http://foxct.com/2014/07/23/connecticut-dancers-learning-from-world-reknown-dancer/ and it's endemic to the region, (due to lack of exposure to the art form outside of SYTYCD TV)...

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"He’s a judge on Spain’s ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ he starred alongside Gwenyth Paltrow in a champagne commercial, and now he can add ‘teaching dance in Hartford’ to his impressive repertoire."

Oh dear. It's the fourth paragraph before they mention ballet.

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So happy Angel got this job. He lost so much trying to get the company in Spain off the ground, including some of his own personal wealth that he sunk into the company. Do we think that any ABT dancers who are fed up might eventually defect to PA ballet.

The article in the Inquirer has relevant information:

He has heard from outside dancers eager to work with him, but he said it was important to nurture the current crop and to promote from within.

"It's easier to bring people from the outside and say, 'Wow, you have a great company,' but there are a lot of dancers who have been overlooked."

I would guess that more than ABT dancers have approached him. He has a wide network.

The Balanchine works are staged by the Balanchine police, so the fact that Angel is not a Balanchine specialist may not matter that much ultimately.

Well, it would only matter if fewer Balanchine works were presented in the future.

Also from the article. there is at least one arts person who disagrees, but the key thing is that Corella doesn't:

Randy Swartz, artistic director of the advocacy group Dance Affiliates, said the biggest surprise with choosing Corella was that the Pennsylvania Ballet - a Balanchine-style company - hired a director who was not bred in the Balanchine technique. Corella did not come up through any single school.

Swartz thinks that's a good thing. "I think the ballet needed to do that [loosen the ties to Balanchine] from a perspective of where they are viewed internationally."

Corella said the great choreographer, who guided Barbara Weisberger to form the Pennsylvania Ballet, would still be a pivotal part of the company.

"I'm planning in at least every program to plan a Balanchine ballet, to have the understanding that it is a Balanchine-based company," he said.

I assume Corella mostly means mixed bill programs, but that would be three times more than is planned for the upcoming season, where there are "Nutcracker" and "Prodigal Son" on the schedule, which also includes a Weiss/Ratmansky, an all-Robbins and a Forsythe/Fonte programs. This is not a lot of Balanchine, but for the previous five season there were three or four Balanchine Ballets in the rep. In 2009-10 they did three: "4T's", "Theme,"and "T&V". In 2010-11 they did "Concerto Barocco," "Agon," and "Who Cares?," the latter two in a "Building on Balanchine" program. In 2011-12 they did "Raymonda Variations" and "Slaughter" in the season opener and "Square Dance" in the closer. In 2012-13 they brought "Square Dance" to Princeton and performed "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Ballo della Regina," and "Stravinsky Violin Concerto." PA Ballet's contribution to "Ballet Across America" in 2013 was "4T's". (Boston Ballet brought "Symphony in Three Movements." I'm still rolling my eyes that PNB brought "Jardi Tancat" the year they were invited.) Last season they did "Jewels," "Serenade," and "Stravinsky Violin Concerto."

It's not a if Corella is coming from the Mariinsky: he danced Balanchine, even if he wasn't a Balanchine specialist.

I think the question is more what Corella's appointment will mean for the Weiss works still in the rep and Matthew Neenan.

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Reports of dancers contacting him to join the company are not surprising, but I wonder how realistic that is. In addition to his stated concern about cultivating existing talent (very smart politically), this is a small regional company. I count only 31 dancers on their web site (7 principals, 4 soloists, 20 corps). (Note a familiar name: Veyette - any relation?)

http://www.paballet.org/dancers

They are doing six programs for the coming season, including their Nutcracker. This is about the size of Colorado Ballet, which had 30 dancers on contract last year and is planning 5 programs this season, including their Nutcracker. I'm guessing that Pennsylvania fills out their big productions (especially Nutcracker) with advanced students from their school and apprentices, as Colorado does.

Their contract for 2009-2012 is on-line:

http://www.musicalartists.org/agreements/PennsylvaniaBallet.2009-2012.pdf

They had a 34-week contract. Corps members start at $954/week ($32,436 for the contract), principals $1202 ($40,868). Not an easy life!

I also wonder, if he does hire from outside, if he'll look to dancers from his own now disbanded company, who have scattered. (Two ended up in the Colorado corps last year and have been wonderful.)

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Francis Veyette is Andrew Veyette's brother.

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This is not a small regional company. This is one of the major regional ballet companies. I have not seen it lately but it was normally considered one of the top 8 companies. This is an AGMA contract company. I would perhsps rank American companies as follows:

NYCB

ABT

SFB

BB, PNB, PAB, MCB. These three have shifting budget rankings depending on local financial help...BB is doing well right now)

Joffrey (used to be same or above SFB), BW, KCB, TBT, HB, OBT, LAB, BA, MB coming in a little lower... Still reasonable contracts...

Then there are the smaller regional ballet companies (I have never seen these...)

Carolina, Sarasota, Hartford Ballet used to sit about here, NJB, ARB, I'm leaving out a ton..

There are smaller companies that hire professional dancers for very very short seasons...

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I guess I'm confused about how to count size, and I suppose there are different, legitimate ways to do that. Pennsylvania Ballet has the same number of dancers, contract of same length, and about the same amount of programming as Colorado, yet the latter does not appear on your list. Colorado Ballet is 54 years old and the AD was also an ABT principal (Gil Boggs).

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I think maybe one might be able to tell a lot by the size of the city the company calls home... It's not fail-safe... after all, Chicago is a pretty big city... and perhaps Joffrey is gradually recovering... whereas Ib Andersen seems to being doing a great job in tiny Phoenix... and it was ages before Los Angeles managed to support a company... but Philadelphia is still a major US market... and there is a good deal of old money there that appreciates the finer aspects of art culture.

My list is by no means complete... I would equate Colorado Ballet with Milwaukee Ballet... does that work for you?

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By that standard, PA ballet should be much bigger! Colorado does have a lot of old money - oil, mining, Molly Brown. Can we agree that both are medium-sized regional companies?

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This is not a small regional company. This is one of the major regional ballet companies. I have not seen it lately but it was normally considered one of the top 8 companies. This is an AGMA contract company. I would perhsps rank American companies as follows:

NYCB

ABT

SFB

BB, PNB, PAB, MCB. These three have shifting budget rankings depending on local financial help...BB is doing well right now)

Joffrey (used to be same or above SFB), BW, KCB, TBT, HB, OBT, LAB, BA, MB coming in a little lower... Still reasonable contracts...

Then there are the smaller regional ballet companies (I have never seen these...)

Carolina, Sarasota, Hartford Ballet used to sit about here, NJB, ARB, I'm leaving out a ton..

There are smaller companies that hire professional dancers for very very short seasons...

ranking them how? quality? size? funding? Could you explain?

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Corella didn't simply say he was planning to use the current roster: he said "but there are a lot of dancers who have been overlooked." Those are fighting words, not a nice PC statement. In fact, it's what every new AD does if he or she is not simply dismissing the dancers, like Duato did the ballet people in Spain -- ie reviewing the roster and deciding whom among them is appealing, appropriate for his or her rep choices, etc. It's just rare when they come out and say it.

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