sf_herminator

SF Ballet Announces 2017–18 Roster

33 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

 

 

Link to official press release:  https://www.sfballet.org/about/media-center/press-releases/18_CompanyMembers

 

Two new principal dancers:  Ulrik Birkkjaer (from the Royal Danish Ballet) and Ana Sophia Scheller (from New York City Ballet) join the Company as principal dancers.  Previously announced:  Jennifer Stahl promoted from soloist to principal dancer.

 

No additional soloists to the ones announced earlier:  Previously announced were the promotions of corps dancers Isabella DeVivo, Jahna Frantziskonis, Esteban Hernandez, and Steven Morse.  Plus Max Cauthorn, whose promotion was effective immediately when announced in March (the other promotions were for the 2017-18 season).

 

New Corps Dancers:  Solomon GoldingGabriela GonzalezBlake JohnstonMadison KeeslerWona Park, and Joseph Warton have joined SF Ballet as corps de ballet members.  Additionally, all five apprentices from last season (Alexandre Cagnat, Shené Lazarus, Davide Occhipinti, Nathaniel Remez, and Isabella Walsh) have been promoted to the Corps.

 

Apprentices for 2017-18:  Ethan ChudnowAnatalia Hordov, Carmela MayoSwane MessaoudiLarisa Nugent, and Benjamin Pearson of SF Ballet School have been promoted to the rank of apprentice. 

 

Missing from last year's roster (some of these were already known, others are a bit of a surprise):

Principals:  Lorena Feijoo, Davit Karapetyan, Vanessa Zahorian, Taras Domitro, Carlos Quenedit, and Aaron Robison

Soloists:  Francisco Mungamba, Anthony VIncent

Corps:  Jordan Hammond, Lee Alex Meyer Lorey

 

Initial reaction:  Very surprised to see Francisco gone.  NIce to see Madison Keesler returning.  

 

Here's a link to Ana Sophia Scheller's bio:  http://www.nycballet.com/Dancers/Dancers-Bios/Ana-Sophia-Scheller.aspx

 

Solomon Golding's bio from Royal Ballet website:  http://www.roh.org.uk/people/solomon-golding

 

Gabriela Gonzalez's bio from Tulsa Ballet:  https://tulsaballet.org/company/dancers/gabriela-gonzalez/

 

Even though we are familiar with her, here is Madison's bio from the English National Ballet website:  https://www.ballet.org.uk/people/madison-keesler/

Edited by sf_herminator
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Lucky San Francisco:  I've seen Ulrik Birkkjaer dance, and he's terrific!

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44 minutes ago, sf_herminator said:

 

Initial reaction:  Very surprised to see Francisco gone.  NIce to see Madison Keesler returning.  

 

 

I agree, I love(d) Francisco's dancing. And I'm surprised to see Madison coming back; she seemed to be getting really great opportunities at ENB.

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Also, not sure what to think of Ana Sophia Scheller. She's seasoned, definitely, but I've never been wowed by her artistic chops. I think I might have rather seen someone like Lauren Strongin promoted rather than bring in someone external for a few years.

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I wonder if Madison was home sick? She seemed to maintain close ties to her SFB friends while in England. I kind of think Robison was ready to return home after all that time abroad.

 

I haven't seen Ana Sophia Scheller dance (except in video excerpts), and I'm curious how she appears in more traditional, classic "roles". Perhaps Tomasson thinks she would excel in the full lengths, the type of ballet that doesn't happen much at NYCB.

 

A number of good mid-level dancers have been/will be trapped at the soloist level (if "trapped" is even the right term). I'm really interested in where these dancers end up - anyone going to Atlanta as a principal?

My "feeling" is that Strongin will be promoted after/during the 2018 season.

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I would like to see Lauren Strongin as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, as she has a beautiful classical technique and it would be a pleasure to see her pure line and grace in the title role.  

 

I am sorry to see Francisco Mungamba go, as he is remarkable. I wonder where he will end up.  I am less surprised about Anthony Vincent, because he has so seldom been on stage over the past three years - such a shame. 

 

I, also, was amazed to learn that Madison Keesler is returning and look forward to seeing her transformed as a performing artist after her years with ENB. 

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It's all very, very interesting - such an eventful year for the company. I, too, am happy to see Keesler return - hope she gets utilized in the way it seemed Tomasson utilized returnee Ludmilla Campos Bizalon (?) this past year. Echoing Josette that I'd love to see Strongin dance Aurora. And love to see her get promoted. Do you suppose the marital aspect of the equation is ever looked at, as in "we don't have to worry about her taking a higher position elsewhere b/c her spouse is happy here"?

 

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Posted (edited)

Since four Principal male dancers retired/left the company this season I expected more dancers to be added to the roster.  Disappointed about Lauren Strongin not being promoted.  She and Joseph recently performed at the Bolshoi at one of the gala concerts for Benois de la Danse and received very favorable reviews by Russian audiences who usually are quite biased towards and sceptical of non-Russian ballerinas.  I was surprised by the return of Madison Kessler--I was under the impression that she enjoyed her life in London.

Edited by Dreamer

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5 hours ago, Terez said:

It's all very, very interesting - such an eventful year for the company. I, too, am happy to see Keesler return - hope she gets utilized in the way it seemed Tomasson utilized returnee Ludmilla Campos Bizalon (?) this past year. Echoing Josette that I'd love to see Strongin dance Aurora. And love to see her get promoted. Do you suppose the marital aspect of the equation is ever looked at, as in "we don't have to worry about her taking a higher position elsewhere b/c her spouse is happy here"?

 

 

Personally, I think the staff cares more about deciding who shows the most talent, commitment and good chemistry with the other soloist dancers. There may be  a loose quota for how many in-house dancers they will promote VS. how many outside dancers they can hire. And of course the different levels (Corps, Soloist, Principal) carry with them different budget sizes and investments of time and energy. A Corps dancer isn't paid nearly as well as a Principal (and in SF they still feel like they are scraping by) and they don't receive nearly the amount of personal attention in terms of rehearsals and coaching. All that has to figure into staff selections. In osme ways, it's much harder to choose dancers at a large company since there are so many deserving dancers. But the staff is always thinking about who will be exceptional.

 

1 hour ago, Dreamer said:

Since four Principal male dancers retired/left the company this season I expected more dancers to be added to the roster.  Disappointed about Lauren Strongin not being promoted.  She and Joseph recently performed at the Bolshoi at one of the gala concerts for Benois de la Danse and received very favorable reviews by Russian audiences who usually are quite biased towards and sceptical of non-Russian ballerinas.  I was surprised by the return of Madison Kessler--I was under the impression that she enjoyed her life in London.

 

There are now 18 principals and 13 soloists listed and that's about right for SFB. And 41(!) Corps dancers. But it's not over until it's over - we have the entire summer to hear of any further changes. Occasionally, a dancer changes his/her mind about relocating, and sometimes a dancer of real 'stature' suddenly decides they want a new experience.

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Posted (edited)

Cortege Hongrois pas de deux - Balanchine, Ana Sophia Scheller
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1FGgZwrjzA

Black Swan Rehearsal, Ana Sophia Scheller
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqD09mZwN1w


Ana dancing with Taras Domitro(!), Coppelia Pas de Deux (image ratio is squashed, unfortunately)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLOwc5rOVHA


And there is more on her YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTIy_Zv71G960f-agq3qHsw

 

 

Edited by pherank

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Posted (edited)

pherank, thanks for posting these videos of Ana Sophia Scheller. I am looking forward to seeing her on stage.

Edited by Dreamer

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4 hours ago, Dreamer said:

pherank, thanks for posting these videos of Ana Sophia Scheller. I am looking forward to seeing her on stage.

 

How do you like the huge shadow of Peter Martins looming over the Cortege Hongrois rehearsal? Must be something symbolic in that. He seems unhappy about something at 0:55.

Can anyone tell who she is dancing with? Ask la Cour? Daniel Ulbricht?

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"I Made It for Melissa."

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On 6/9/2017 at 2:41 PM, pherank said:

 

Can anyone tell who she is dancing with? Ask la Cour? Daniel Ulbricht?

 

I can't recognize the dancer but don't think it is Ulbricht.

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Could it be Charles Askegard?

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On 6/9/2017 at 2:41 PM, pherank said:

 

How do you like the huge shadow of Peter Martins looming over the Cortege Hongrois rehearsal? Must be something symbolic in that. He seems unhappy about something at 0:55.

Can anyone tell who she is dancing with? Ask la Cour? Daniel Ulbricht?

 

Hard to say, given the blurriness, but based on the physique and hairline, I'd guess Russell Janzen. (If not, I'd guess that Jonathan Stafford stepped in to demonstrate something.)

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Ms. Scheller's partner in the Cortege pdd segment is Chas. Askegard.

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. If it is Charles Askegard, then the Cortege Hongrois video would be at least 6 years old.

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Something I just discovered - Jordan Nicole has left the SFB Corps to dance with her husband (and former SFB dancer) Raymond Tilton at Diablo Ballet:

http://diabloballet.org/dancers/

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Some interesting comments by Benjamin Millepied in this article that may effect someone connected to SFB (but who?):

 

I noticed on your site you have an audition call out for dancers who, if classically trained, can dance on pointe.
I’m actually hiring many dancers this fall to complete the company, with dancers coming from ballet companies, actually — San Francisco Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet. We’re going to start to have dancers who can also do pointe work in the company. It doesn’t mean that everyone, every girl in the company, is on pointe, but having some dancers who are trained in pointe work allows me to have a larger repertory. I don’t want to reduce the potential works we can dance, basically.

You’re working with Janie Taylor and Carla Korbes, two great ballet dancers who recently retired.
I’m completely attracted to the idea of working with retired dancers; some dancers retire early and are in fantastic shape. Carla and Janie still have a lot to say and want to, and I’m happy to give them an outlet.

 

http://www.vulture.com/2017/06/benjamin-millepied-on-why-hes-bored-with-ballet.html

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19 hours ago, pherank said:

I noticed on your site you have an audition call out for dancers who, if classically trained, can dance on pointe.
I’m actually hiring many dancers this fall to complete the company, with dancers coming from ballet companies, actually — San Francisco Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet. We’re going to start to have dancers who can also do pointe work in the company. It doesn’t mean that everyone, every girl in the company, is on pointe, but having some dancers who are trained in pointe work allows me to have a larger repertory. I don’t want to reduce the potential works we can dance, basically.

 

Hmmm, he doesn't say the SFB dancers are women, just that dancers will be coming from SFB, POB, and others. Maybe some of the recently departed soloist men?

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I recall reading at the time that Millepied was leaving POB, that there was a female POB dancer who was joining LA Dance Project, but I do not recall her name by now.  

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Millepied does say, "dancers who can do pointe work", but I suppose he may need partners for en pointe dancers too. I haven't heard anything more about what Francisco Mungamba and Anthony Vincent will do, so perhaps one of them? And Jordan Hammond and Lee Alex Meyer Lorey from the women? I kind of thought Meyer Lorey was leaving dance entirely to model. But who knows?

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