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Angel Corella appointed AD of Pennsylvania Ballet

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I think this is wonderful news! I can't wait to see what Corella will do there and hopefully they'll tour to NYC soon. I know he said he will promote from within and give opps to previously overlooked dancers (which is awesome) but I cant help but wonder whether Sarah Lane would join (as a principal) in the future. She guested with his company and did O/O opposite Corella. He clearly values her talent. I'd hate to see her leave ABT but most of us agree that she's wasted there.

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I think this is wonderful news! I can't wait to see what Corella will do there and hopefully they'll tour to NYC soon. I know he said he will promote from within and give opps to previously overlooked dancers (which is awesome) but I cant help but wonder whether Sarah Lane would join (as a principal) in the future. She guested with his company and did O/O opposite Corella. He clearly values her talent. I'd hate to see her leave ABT but most of us agree that she's wasted there.

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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?

At least from their web site, Milwaukee has 26 dancers on contract, but I can't tell how many weeks on contract. They have five programs scheduled for next year, including their Nutcracker. But these comparisons are very tricky. Milwaukee does each program for only one weekend, while Colorado does most of theirs in 8 performances over 2 weekends. http://www.milwaukeeballet.org/about-us/dance-company

All of these second/third tier companies have suffered mightily in the Great Recession, as well as from the cancellation of the NEA Dance program's touring program, which underwrote visits by smaller companies to smaller cities -- both those cities and the companies suffered.

Each city is unique. Philadelphia has old money and a legendary orchestra and art museum, but their proximity to NYC and DC (and the Kennedy Center) might hurt as much as help - it's such an easy train ride for serious dance lovers to visit those cities. Minneapolis is a good example of the lack of correlation between a city's wealth, sophistication, and education levels and their likelihood of hosting a successful resident ballet company. Minneapolis has a great symphony, great art (think: Walker), great theater (think: Guthrie), but I can't think of a single resident ballet company that ever took hold. The successful regional companies seem most likely to share determined founders who fought against seeming odds to build those companies.

It's possible Pennsylvania has been bigger in the past and perhaps Corella hopes it will grow in the future. I hope New Yorkers will support that company - it's only a 90-minute train ride and you can visit the Art Museum and the Barnes Collection while you're there!

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Yes, my "ranking" was quick and very dirty... I didn't mention PBT either, for instance... But I would still say that historically the PA Ballet have been in the top eight of lists made by people wiser than me... I was just trying to draw some rough tiers to indicate that PA Ballet was not "a small regional company"... I think they still perform only with full orchestra? For a little while there, it was the Pennsylvania/Milwaukee Ballet and was even resident at BAM....

But whether the fiscal health of the ciy called home makes a difference, I don't know. I think there was a time when the PA Ballet was better than Boston Ballet, but Boston Ballet has grown since then and I would hazard that Boston itself is a healthier city now and perhaps Philly did not rebound from the '70s recession as quickly (Remember that recession? When NYC almost declared bankruptcy and Manhattan landlords were actually abandoning buildings?). ... Seattle... Will it continue to be a powerhouse? Microsoft is laying off thousands and Boeing keeps moving more & more operations out of the city.

I suppose two categories I would use for roughly ranking would be AGMA contract (as opposed to just matching AGMA rates) and live orchestra.

By the way, Enrico Cecchetti performed at the PA Ballet's home theater as a child.... Just a little random trivia...

Does Colorado Ballet use a live orchestra for most of its productions? I know some companies can only afford one for their Nutcracker. Ballet West seems like it might... remembering the sad new that they were no longer allowed to fire off blanks during their Nut, it seemed a big enough orchestra to be there for more than just Nut. I'd like to see a list breaking down the companies by live vs. canned music.

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I agree about the proximity to New York... NYers (& NY critics) tend not to come out (though they do more than in the last century). On the other hand, it is nice for the dancers to be so close... I think it might be easier to attract strong dancers to a place so close to the dance capital than say Kansas City (also a fine if smaller company). I think they did come out to see the Wheeldon spin on Swan Lake.

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I suppose two categories I would use for roughly ranking would be AGMA contract (as opposed to just matching AGMA rates) and live orchestra.

Does Colorado Ballet use a live orchestra for most of its productions? I know some companies can only afford one for their Nutcracker. Ballet West seems like it might... remembering the sad new that they were no longer allowed to fire off blanks during their Nut, it seemed a big enough orchestra to be there for more than just Nut. I'd like to see a list breaking down the companies by live vs. canned music.

Colorado Ballet uses a live orchestra for everything except one weekend of four performances at the University of Denver Newman Center. Everything else is at the Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver. Live music can be the first thing to go when a company has financial problems -- Ballet San Jose had to switch to recorded music this year after bringing in less than they expected from their last Nutcracker. The current iteration of LA Ballet uses recorded music and many performances are in school auditoriums at area colleges. And doesn't Washington Ballet use recorded music (except for Nutcracker) for its programs at the Eisenhower Theater at the Kennedy Center? I don't know about Ballet West, but with 40 dancers and six programs, live orchestra seems likely: http://www.balletwest.org/AboutUs/TheDancers

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Thanks. That's more or less what I was thinking... Some outliers but mostly in line... I'm sorry not to see Ballet Arizona on that list. And I shoukd have put Houston down, but trust me, I couldn't come up with the fifty states if asked to say them all off the top of my head...

Yeah, what is the deal with Minnesota? Is it just too cold to dance? :). Have always heard they have excellent arts funding...

Meanwhile, glad Corella will be in Philly.

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Atlanta has a company that does some interesting programs -- a little more modern/contemporary and less neoclassical than I would like, but they have live music (at least usually when the scores are not mixes...am not sure about every Nutcracker) and this year danced Maillot and Ratmansky. In addition to Nutcracker, which I have never seen them dance, they do about five other programs a year, one of which is always a short program for children -- Snow White I think, at least this year -- plus some informal performances over the summer.

Topic? Atlanta ballet, too, began as a Balanchine satellite and tossed that legacy away completely, dancing no Balanchine at all for some years. I think it is unfortunate that they dance no Balanchine at all and am delighted to read Corella speaking so respectfully of Pennsylvania Ballet's legacy. I hope he has great success -- and that I get to see it!

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originally posted by Paul Wegner on another site:

All U.S. dance companies with annual budgets of $2 million or more ranked by budget (in millions) at the end of fiscal year 2012.
Please let me know of any corrections.
* denotes AGMA affiliation

1. * New York City Ballet $66.2
2. * San Francisco Ballet $47.4
3. * American Ballet Theatre $40.2
4. * Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre $34.6
5. * Boston Ballet $28.4
6. * Houston Ballet $22.3
7. * Pacific Northwest Ballet $20.9
8. Miami City Ballet $15.1
9. * Joffrey Ballet $14.4
10. * Pennsylvania Ballet $10.4
11. * Atlanta Ballet $9.1
12. * The Washington Ballet $9.0
13. * Kansas City Ballet $8.5
14. * Merce Cunningham Dance Company $8.4
15. * Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre $8.1
16. * Ballet West $7.0
17. Ballet Arizona $6.7
18. * Cincinnati Ballet $6.5
19. * Colorado Ballet $6.5
20. Paul Taylor Dance Company $6.4
21. * Milwaukee Ballet $6.3
22. Oregon Ballet Theatre $6.0
23. Mark Morris Dance Group $5.9
24. Pilobolus $5.8
25. Ballet Austin $5.8
26. * BalletMet Columbus $5.7
27. Carolina Ballet $5.7
28. * Ballet San Jose $5.5
29. * Tulsa Ballet Theatre $5.5
30. Texas Ballet Theatre $5.3
31. Richmond Ballet $5.1
32. * Ballet Hispanico $4.9
33. North Carolina Dance Theatre $4.7
34. Dance Theatre of Harlem $4.4
35. ODC Dance Company $4.3
36. Alonzo King's LINES Ballet $4.2
37. Nashville Ballet $3.8
38. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet $3.5
39. Louisville Ballet $3.4
40. * Martha Graham Center for Dance Education $3.3
41. Sarasota Ballet $3.3
42. Orlando Ballet $3.2
43. Ballet Memphis $3.2
44. Smuin Ballet $3.1
45. American Repertory Ballet $3.0
46. Nevada Ballet Theatre $2.8
47. STREB $2.7
48. Sacramento Ballet $2.7
49. Dallas Black Dance Theatre $2.6
50. Oklahoma City Ballet $2.3
51. Trisha Brown Company 2.3
52. Grand Rapids Ballet $2.3
53. Los Angeles Ballet $2.2
54. Trey McIntyre Project $2.2

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Kaiser shepherded the PA Ballet back from the brink and beyond through some fiancially treacherous years... With Corella's fame and charisma may he attract some genrous patrons to boost the budget back up to par with the company's peers. Corella must have learned something keeping his company alive during Spain"s deep financial crisis. I suspect he is in posession of a better skill set for the task ahead than someone coming directly to PA Ballet from a more generous budget model.

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I think that the Pennsylvania Ballet's "distinguished tradition," to quote Alastair Macaulay from his laudatory review last May, elevates the stature of the company at least in an intangible way. Barbara Weisberger founded the company with the support and encouragement of Balanchine and Kirstein and generous grants from the Ford Foundation gave it stability in the early years. More recently, Chris d'Amboise led the company through its dramatic and successful "Save the Ballet" campaign, so it has always had high-profile names associated with it.

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off%20topic.gif I'm surprised to see San Francisco Ballet has a bigger budget than ABT. As of right now, ABT has 90+ dancers, SFB around 70 (in fact, according to the current website listing, ABT's corps de ballet is nearly as big as SFB's entire company).

Back on topic: as a native Philly-ian who was there when PB was a start-up (I went to most of those early performances because a friend was dancing with the company), I've been thrilled over the years to see how they've grown.

The last time a saw them was a lovely Swan lake about 20-odd years ago. It was a big difference from those early days when the costumes looked like they came out of one of those catalogues for recital costumes, and a fair number of the dancers were still in high school. I really hope this appointment bodes well for the future.

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D'Amboise did some great things with the company... After d'Amboise, the Board then seemed to want a curator rather than a choreographer leading the company... Corella does not seem to have ambitions as a choreographer, and yet one still gets the sense that he wants to "make" something of PA Ballet.. it is inspiring...

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PA ballet does use a live orchestra for performances (at least they did at the 3 performances I went to last year). But I also agree that folks who love ballet might go into NY instead of Philly, given the close proximity between the 2 cities. I definitely spent more time at ABT then PAB despite the fact that I live 15 minutes from the Academy of Music and 2 hours from the Met.

I am very excited about Corella, and think I'm going to get a full season for PAB this year.

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Looks like Angel is cleaning house. I thought his quotes were a little weird; his reasoning for his hires seem much more about personal connections and being "comfortable" rather than experience. Jeffrey Gribler was very loved at PA Ballet; he'll be missed.

http://articles.philly.com/2014-08-28/news/53329546_1_ballet-master-ballet-mistress-tamara-hadley

Edit: oops, realized there's an open topic in News

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Corella has brought in a new ballet mistress, Samantha Dunster, from the Community Division of the Hartt Conservatory at the University of Hartford, where recently Corella directed a summer intensive.

http://harttweb.hartford.edu/community/information/HCDnews102114.aspx?flush=true#Chair%20of%20Dance

I wonder how much of the repertory Hadley was very familiar with, Dunster knows?

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Well, she was in Orlando with Bujones' company before she went to the Hartt, and was trained primarily in Cuba. Otherwise, her bio is strong in 19th c classics.

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Well, PA Ballet will surely be doing 19th Century rep.... And surely the Balanchine Trust sends their own people... As would be the case with Cranko & Tudor, etc... But it was nice when the ballet mistress had danced so much of the rep, as corps and principal... Wonder what the rep will be for 2015-16.

And her husband, Eddy Tovar, is a fine dancer as well. http://harttweb.hartford.edu/community/dance/harttworks/guests.aspx

Will he teach or audition with everyone else in the Spring?

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For some reason I thought AGMA had a prescribed time tor dancers to be hired. I thought all that took place in the Spring. How does it actually work then? Can a sudden replacement be made if a dancer quits? I guess AGMA would not want to ever make hiring a dancer difficult. It must be easier than say the POB's rules?

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I am not sure. I have skimmed through some of the AGMA contracts, but never looked into that before. I know other AGMA companies have hired part way through the season.

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I think the standard contract has a renewal date in the spring (where either the company or the dancer can sever the relationship) but many companies have used variations on that template. In the last few years, PNB has staggered promotions (some official from the beginning of the season and some later in the year), and has announced that a dancer will be joining the company in the autumn, but they will not actually start until later in the season. Then there's the whole element of guest dancers -- they're not company members, but they do affect how members get cast.

I'm sure that there is some kind of emergency element in the standard contract -- dance is a risky undertaking, and if someone is injured part-way through the season, you can't always cover everything just by shuffling the existing performers.

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The information is available from the AGMA website: Pennsylvania Ballet Contract 2013-2016.

There are three kinds of contracts: guaranteed employment, by performance, and weekly. The employer has the option to extend the amount of weeks with proper notice, etc. Dancers engaged at the beginning of the season on a guaranteed employment contract are guaranteed a certain number of weeks. There's nothing that prevents a company from hiring outside this time, but if a dancer is hired after mid-February, the standard evaluation and contract process for the next season is impossible, and perhaps the company must hire the dancer on a weekly contract for the remainder of the season.

In the event the EMPLOYER replaces the then current Artistic Director each ARTIST employed by EMPLOYER at the time of such change shall be guaranteed reengagement at the ARTIST's current rank for the season immediately following such change.

As far as hiring family and friends, that's a long-standing tradition in ballet, in business in general, in college admissions (ie "legacy" students), etc.

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