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Almost 40% of dancers to leave Pennsylvania Ballet

103 posts in this topic

The PA Ballet board has gotten what they deserve.

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I woke up and read that article and am heartbroken, especially for the loss of Lauren Fadeley, who is moving on to Miami City Ballet as a soloist.

I'll admit that I've enjoyed some of the dancers who have been brought on, but this just seems wrong. Feels hard to support this, although I get that it's Corella's company to do with as he pleases.

I wonder how Barbara Weisberger would feel to see that the company she built, after Balanchine, has been dismantled into a mini-ABT.

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Oh, and according to the article, Sterling Baca is coming over as a principal dancer. Hard to be too excited about it right now.

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Oh, and according to the article, Sterling Baca is coming over as a principal dancer. Hard to be too excited about it right now.

Sad for young talents to loose work during this economy and wish all those from PA best of luck! Best of wishes to Baca too as it will be indeed a loss here! I do wonder why he wasn't counter offered, although a principal position would be hard to counter, especially when imports are common! With so many ahead of him within the current company I am sure it would have been a far longer wait, this most likely will give him the chance to dance the roles he would probably not get too soon.

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So sad to see this. But, I am extremely proud of the dancers for standing up and being honest in the interview that their "retirement" was a forced one. The board was taking the easy road by trying to pass off so many as "retirements".

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So sad to see this. But, I am extremely proud of the dancers for standing up and being honest in the interview that their "retirement" was a forced one. The board was taking the easy road by trying to pass off so many as "retirements".

The transition at Pennsylvania Ballet does seem to be a rocky one. In a community where everyone is up for renewal every year, it's possible to make global changes. Whether these are good for the organization, or good for the art form, is a different question.

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Whoa! Didn't expect to read this.

I feel so badly for the dancers being let go, especially the "older" principal dancers. What a shame.

What a loss for ABT and us in NYC to see Baca join, but congrats to him as he joins as principal dancer! That's quite a step up, but he'll now get opportunities that he may never get at ABT, or at least for several years. So good for him.

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This happened to my husband as well as several other dancers when there was a MAJOR change in artistic director in a very large US company. Sadly, the last 3 candidates were there for the dancers' vote of who they themselves felt most likely to lead the company in a way they approved. Unfortunately, my husband and several others were very vocal about it not being the one the board eventually choose. He and 7 others who were opposed to the new director did not have their contracts renewed. After the first season another 13 left. This was a large company, but for several seasons the turn over was high until a clear artistic plan was visible. It is now settled but very different than the company my husband danced for. It is thriving and has a clear and unique identity in the ballet world. Same happened in Boston, same in New Zealand when Steifle took over. It's terribly sad because the dancers did nothing wrong, they just happen to no longer fit into whatever 'vision' the current administration has. Angel is doing wonderful things for PA Ballet, but it was a quick and drastic change for everyone involved. My heart extends to all that will be 'overlooked' in this process and hope they can find a home in a company where their unique and beautiful talent will be utilized and appreciated.

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I don't disagree with all the expressions of regret for the turmoil in the lives of dancers. I just want to point out the importance of their union contract in giving them a year to impress the new director and also to look for other work. Without that contract, it could have been much worse...in an era of dramatically declining union membership, it's important to remember the good unions do.

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I wish a full list of those who are leaving would be posted somewhere. The article mentions Fadeley, Veyette, Brooke Moore and Evelyn Kocak. I'm very bummed over Fadeley, and I'm curious to see what corps members are leaving (hope Alexandra Hughes and Misa Kasamatsu don't leave, they are two of my favorites!)

The one bit of happy news besides Baca is Lillian DiPiazza's promotion!

And I'm guessing this means Soca will no longer be listed as a guest principal?

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It is a terrible thing to lose a job, but at least they had plenty of notice due to union rules. That is a lot more notice than most workers get before being let go. I would guess that most saw the handwriting on the wall for some time. Clearly he came in and immediately changed the artistic staff and brought in many new dancers that he favored. Any rational person would have concluded that it was only a matter of time (as dictated by the union rules) before he would "clean house" with respect to the dancers too.

The hardest thing for me to get used to is to come to terms with this tough management aspect of his personality. He is such a nice and friendly person. I have had the pleasure of interacting with him a few times over the years. Many friends of mine have also had personal interactions with him, during which he is very warm and kind. .But I guess that to be the boss, you have to have a tough side too.

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That's quite a jump for Sterling Baca! I thought he had a lot of promise for advancement at ABT but as has been noted, it would have taken him much longer. And I see that his girlfriend (according to his public Instagram feed) Nayara Lopes is joining as a corps member, moving from Dance Theatre of Harlem. Good luck to them both!

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I woke up and read that article and am heartbroken, especially for the loss of Lauren Fadeley, who is moving on to Miami City Ballet as a soloist.

I'll admit that I've enjoyed some of the dancers who have been brought on, but this just seems wrong. Feels hard to support this, although I get that it's Corella's company to do with as he pleases.

I wonder how Barbara Weisberger would feel to see that the company she built, after Balanchine, has been dismantled into a mini-ABT.

Well, there are certainly other companies now in America who do quite well by Balanchine. San Francisco Ballet, Boston, Miami City Ballet and of course, Pacific Northwest Ballet. All dance Balanchine on a very high level of achievement. What concerns me more, based on what I saw recently at the Joyce, is the direction Corella might be taking Pennsylvania Ballet. The choreography was truly sub par, for the most part, and the dancers didn't particularly shine in anything. ( How could they? It all looked alike) Perhaps with dancers more to his liking, new things can happen. But based on what was shown a few weeks back it would seem Corella is taking the company down a path of "oh no, not that same old so called Contemporary stuff again". That would be a huge shame. My hope is that this will not be the case. And I also hope the dancers released from their contracts will find better opportunities soon. As for Baca. It seems to be a huge loss for ABT, as he appeared to have a lot going for him here. Height, great technique , a winning way on stage, etc. All things they will need in a male dancer a few years down the road. And one would hope that the jump from corps to Principle will not be too big or too fast. It takes time to build an artist. But then, right now he'll be a big fish in a much smaller pond. One can only wish him well.

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I don't disagree with all the expressions of regret for the turmoil in the lives of dancers. I just want to point out the importance of their union contract in giving them a year to impress the new director and also to look for other work. Without that contract, it could have been much worse...in an era of dramatically declining union membership, it's important to remember the good unions do.

Yes indeed. I find it ironic, though, that one of the dancers being let go is the current union rep.

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I wish a full list of those who are leaving would be posted somewhere. The article mentions Fadeley, Veyette, Brooke Moore and Evelyn Kocak. I'm very bummed over Fadeley, and I'm curious to see what corps members are leaving (hope Alexandra Hughes and Misa Kasamatsu don't leave, they are two of my favorites!)

The one bit of happy news besides Baca is Lillian DiPiazza's promotion!

And I'm guessing this means Soca will no longer be listed as a guest principal?

Some are not able to say, as the companies to which they are going have not made their announcements yet.

Additionally, I know personally a few of them chose not to stay. It was not that they were let go. It is important to realize that Corella (and other Directors) may choose dancers they want for their company, but equally important is that some dancers do not wish to dance for the new Director. Such was the case with some of the dancers here in PA.

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Well, there are certainly other companies now in America who do quite well by Balanchine. San Francisco Ballet, Boston, Miami City Ballet and of course, Pacific Northwest Ballet. All dance Balanchine on a very high level of achievement. What concerns me more, based on what I saw recently at the Joyce, is the direction Corella might be taking Pennsylvania Ballet. The choreography was truly sub par, for the most part, and the dancers didn't particularly shine in anything. ( How could they? It all looked alike)

The program at the Joyce is not a typical PAB program though, even for Corella, who has programmed this and next year. Prior to Corella, PAB was a Balanchine company, similar to those listed above (the Joyce repertoire was odd to me). It appears Corella is slowly moving away from the company's Balanchine roots, which has understandably upset some.

I'm sad for the dancers who lost their jobs, but I have no idea if what Corella is doing is what is right for the company or not. I guess we'll see by how well they do at selling the new repertoire, which for the first time ever, will have 3 story ballets--Le Corsaire, Nut, and Cinderella, and 3 mixed programs. This is a departure from the PAB of old, where they only did 2 story ballets a year (Nut, and then one additional work). Will the loyal fan base, who loves some of these dancers that have been let go and also loves the Balanchine base, be happy with the new direction? This coming year he still put at least one Balanchine work into each mixed bill, will that be enough to keep those loyal subscribers and donors? Time will tell.

While I will greatly miss seeing some of the "old school" dancers perform, I admit I loved Don Quixote, and I really do enjoy most of the new folks brought on. I'm still keeping my subscription, but I just hope Corella knows what he is doing.

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I'm startled by this quote.

Mr. Corella said that his time with Pennsylvania Ballet so far had been a “good opportunity” to see who was on board with his artistic vision. In rehearsals, he said, he saw unhappy faces, as well as petulant gestures like hands on hips and crossed arms. “Sometimes you have to do things that are not your favorite,” he said. “There were ballets I didn’t like doing, but you do it because it’s your job.”

I'm afraid if Angel is looking for a company where dancers don't get cranky and frustrated after long rehearsals, he's going to be firing 40% of his company every year.

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Out of curiosity, of the 43 dancers, how many were there before Corella took over? Didn't he add a few fairly quickly? If he added, say, 5 dancers, would that mean a higher percentage of the previous company has left?

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I read somewhere that 6 left last year.

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I have no idea if what Corella is doing is what is right for the company or not.

The result may end up being positive, as has happened at San Francisco Ballet since Helgi Tomasson took over 31 years ago. There was a big shake-up in terms of dancers and repertory then, too, but people have forgotten about that given how Tomasson has made a success of the company. (He also had the advantage of making the changes in a pre-Internet age.)

The quote in the Times was really uncalled for. You would think someone on the board would tell Corella to stop speaking to the press given how this comment comes hard on the heels of the unflattering comments he has made to the press about the prior artistic regime. It just makes Corella look petty.

In terms of the ousted dancers, the company bought out the contracts of 6 dancers last season. Another 17 won't be back for the upcoming season (by choice or not.) Of a total of 43 dancers, that means Corella has pushed out about 55% of them.

I have to say that this whole matter makes me love the Paris Opera Ballet dancers all the more for their ability to battle an artistic director to a standstill!

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The result may end up being positive, as has happened at San Francisco Ballet since Helgi Tomasson took over 31 years ago. There was a big shake-up in terms of dancers and repertory then, too, but people have forgotten about that given how Tomasson has made a success of the company. (He also had the advantage of making the changes in a pre-Internet age.)

The quote in the Times was really uncalled for. You would think someone on the board would tell Corella to stop speaking to the press given how this comment comes hard on the heels of the unflattering comments he has made to the press about the prior artistic regime. It just makes Corella look petty.

In terms of the ousted dancers, the company bought out the contracts of 6 dancers last season. Another 17 aren't being asked back for the upcoming season. Of a total of 43 dancers, that means Corella has pushed out about 55% of them.

I have to say that this whole matter makes me love the Paris Opera Ballet dancers all the more for their ability to battle an artistic director to a standstill!

It's not 17 that are not being asked back. It is 12 that were asked to leave. The other 5 decided to leave on their own. I know several who said they did want to stay under his leadership. Dunkel's article states that others are contemplating leaving.

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Thanks it's a mom -- I tweaked my post.

My main point remains: There's been turnover in excess of 50% since Corella took charge.

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Thanks it's a mom -- I tweaked my post.

My main point remains: There's been turnover in excess of 50% since Corella took charge.

Agreed!

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